The Relation between Serotonergic Biomarkers and Behaviour – studies on human primates, non-human primates and transgenic mice
Sammanfattning: Rationale: The serotonergic system is involved in the modulation of emotion and plays an important role for personality and vulnerability for psychiatric disorders. In the papers included in this thesis, we investigate three biological factors that have been studied in relation to psychiatric symptoms: Platelet monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) activity, and variations in the MAO-A and the serotonin transporter (5HTT) genes. We also study intensity dependent auditory evoked potentials (IAEP) as an intermediate phenotype for serotonergic capacity. Platelet MAO-B has been shown to be a biological marker for the properties of monoamine systems, with low activity being associated with vulnerability for high scores of sensation seeking, monotony avoidance, and impulsiveness, as well as for susceptibility for alcoholism. Functional polymorphisms in the promoter of the genes encoding MAO-A and the serotonin transporter result in high- or low- activity alleles that have been associated with numerous psychiatric symptoms. One hypothesis for the shaping of personality is that these genotype variants have prenatal effects on the wiring of the brain. Thus, exploring how the development of the brain is affected by different prenatal serotonin levels is relevant in this context.Observations: (i) Platelet MAOB activity was associated with monoamine metabolites in cerebrospinal fluid from cisterna magna in monkeys, as well as with voluntary alcohol intake, alcohol-induced aggression, and alcohol sensitivity. (ii) The long 5HTTLPR allele was associated with increased IAEP. (iii) The functional MAOA and 5HTT polymorphisms were associated with symptoms of ADHD-related traits in a population based sample of Swedish adolescents. Associations of these candidate genes with ADHD scores were strenghtened when the platelet MAOB activity was combined with genotype. (iv) Our pilot data showed that treatment of pregnant mice with 5HTT blocking antidepressives resulted in more serotonergic cellbodies in lateral wings of dorsal raphe in the offspring, when compared to saline treatment.Conclusions: Our studies support the notion that platelet MAOB activity and IAEP are endophenotypes for monoaminergic capacity and related behaviours. The functional candidate polymorphisms in MAOA and 5HTT were linked to behaviour, however, the cause-relationship is unclear and the explanation for the associations need to be further investigated, possibly with focus on prenatal effects of the polymorphisms.
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