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Open Access

CaV1.3 L-type calcium channels modulate depression-like behavior in mice independent of deaf phenotype

  • Perrine Busquet1,
  • Ngoc K Nguyen1,
  • Eduard Schmid2,
  • Naoyuki Tanimoto3,
  • Mathias W Seeliger3,
  • Tamar Ben-Yosef4,
  • Fengxia Mizuno5,
  • Abram Akopian5,
  • Nicolas Singewald1 and
  • Jörg Striessnig1Email author
BMC Pharmacology20099(Suppl 2):A21

https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2210-9-S2-A21

Published: 12 November 2009

Background

Mounting evidence suggests that neuronal voltage-gated CaV1.2 and CaV1.3 L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) can modulate mood and anxiety behaviors. In CaV1.2 dihydropyridine (DHP)-insensitive mice (CaV1.2DHP-/- mice), systemic application of the DHP channel activator BAYK 8644 induced pro-depression-like behavior providing evidence for a possible role of CaV1.3 channels in mood behavior. We therefore explored the role of CaV1.3 LTCCs in depression- and anxiety-like behaviors using CaV1.3-deficient mice (CaV1.3-/-). However, CaV1.3-/- mice are congenitally deaf and it is so far unclear how deafness affects emotional behavior in mice. We therefore used another mouse model suffering from congenital deafness, claudin 14-deficient mice (Cldn14-/-) as a control to address this question. As CaV1.3 channels are expressed in the retina we also investigated CaV1.3-/- mice for possible disturbances in retinal morphology and visual function that could interfere with behavioral analysis.

Methods

Depression-like behavior was assessed using forced swim and tail suspension tests (FST and TST) whereas elevated plus maze (EPM) and stress-induced hyperthermia (SIH) were performed to test anxiety-like behavior. Morris water maze, electroretinography and immunofluorescence stainings were performed to evaluate the consequence on visual acuity and retinal morphology of CaV1.3 deletion in CaV1.3-/- mice.

Results

We showed that CaV1.3-/- mice displayed less immobility in the FST as well as in the TST, indicating an antidepressant-like phenotype. In the EPM, CaV1.3-/- mice entered the open arms more frequently and spent more time there indicating an anxiolytic-like phenotype which was, however not supported in the SIH test. By performing parallel experiments in Cldn14-/- mice, an influence of deafness on the antidepressant-like phenotype could be ruled out. On the other hand, a similar EPM behavior indicative of an anxiolytic phenotype was also found in the Cldn14-/- animals. Using electroretinography and visual behavioral tasks we demonstrated that in mice, CaV1.3 channels do not significantly contribute to visual function. However, distinct morphological changes were revealed in synaptic ribbons in the outer plexiform layer of CaV1.3-/- retinas by immunohistochemistry. Although these changes have no major effects on visual function, they indicate a possible role of this channel type in structural plasticity at the ribbon synapse.

Conclusion

CaV1.3 LTCCs modulate depression-like behavior but are not essential for visual function. The findings raise the possibility that selective modulation of CaV1.3 channels could be a promising new therapeutic concept for the treatment of mood disorders.

Declarations

Acknowledgements

Supported by the Austrian Science Fund (P-20670 and W11).

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute of Pharmacy and Center for Molecular Biosciences Innsbruck (CMBI), University of Innsbruck
(2)
Department of Ophtalmology and Optometry, Innsbruck Medical University
(3)
Division of Ocular Neurodegeneration, Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Centre for Ophthalmology, Eberhard-Karls University
(4)
Department of Genetics, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
(5)
Department of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine

Copyright

© Busquet et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.

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