Dentate gyrus-CA3 glutamate release/NMDA transmission mediates behavioral despair and antidepressant-like responses to leptin

X. Wang, D. Zhang, X. Y. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Compelling evidence supports the important role of the glutamatergic system in the pathophysiology of major depression and also as a target for rapid-acting antidepressants. However, the functional role of glutamate release/transmission in behavioral processes related to depression and antidepressant efficacy remains to be elucidated. In this study, glutamate release and behavioral responses to tail suspension, a procedure commonly used for inducing behavioral despair, were simultaneously monitored in real time. The onset of tail suspension stress evoked a rapid increase in glutamate release in hippocampal field CA3, which declined gradually after its offset. Blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors by intra-CA3 infusion of MK-801, a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, reversed behavioral despair. A subpopulation of granule neurons that innervated the CA3 region expressed leptin receptors and these cells were not activated by stress. Leptin treatment dampened tail suspension-evoked glutamate release in CA3. On the other hand, intra-CA3 infusion of NMDA blocked the antidepressant-like effect of leptin in reversing behavioral despair in both the tail suspension and forced swim tests, which involved activation of Akt signaling in DG. Taken together, these results suggest that the DG-CA3 glutamatergic pathway is critical for mediating behavioral despair and antidepressant-like responses to leptin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-519
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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