Targeted deletion of Vglut2 expression in the embryonal telencephalon promotes an anxiolytic phenotype of the adult mouse
Background. Anxiety is a natural emotion experienced by all individuals. However, when anxiety becomes excessive, it contributes to the substantial group of anxiety disorders that affect one in three people and thus are among the most common psychiatric disorders. Anxiolysis, the reduction of anxiety, is mediated via several large groups of therapeutical compounds, but the relief is often only temporary, and increased knowledge of the neurobiology underlying anxiety is needed in order to improve future therapies.
Aim. We previously demonstrated that mice lacking forebrain expression of the Vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (Vglut2) from adolescence showed a strong anxiolytic behaviour as adults. In the current study, we wished to analyse if removal of Vglut2 expression already from mid-gestation of the mouse embryo would give rise to similar anxiolysis in the adult mouse.
Methods. We produced transgenic mice lacking Vglut2 from mid-gestation and analysed their affective behaviour, including anxiety, when they had reached adulthood. Results. The transgenic mice lacking Vglut2 expression from mid-gestation showed certain signs of anxiolytic behaviour, but this phenotype was not as prominent as when Vglut2 was removed during adolescence.
Conclusion. Our results suggest that both embryonal and adolescent forebrain expression of Vglut2 normally contributes to balancing the level of anxiety. As the neurobiological basis for anxiety is similar across species, our results in mice may help improve the current understanding of the neurocircuitry of anxiety, and hence anxiolysis, also in humans.
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