Depression is a leading cause of disease burden, yet current therapies fully treat <50% of affected individuals. Increasing evidence implicates epigenetic mechanisms in depression and antidepressant action. Here we examined a possible role for the DNA dioxygenase, ten-eleven translocation protein 1 (TET1), in depression-related behavioral abnormalities. We applied chronic social defeat stress, an ethologically validated mouse model of depression-like behaviors, and examined Tet1 expression changes in nucleus accumbens (NAc), a key brain reward region. We show decreased Tet1 expression in NAc in stress-susceptible mice only. Surprisingly, selective knockout of Tet1 in NAc neurons of adult mice produced antidepressant-like effects in several behavioral assays. To identify Tet1 targets that mediate these actions, we performed RNAseq on NAc after conditional deletion of Tet1 and found that immune-related genes are the most highly dysregulated. Moreover, many of these genes are also upregulated in the NAc of resilient mice after chronic social defeat stress. These findings reveal a novel role for TET1, an enzyme important for DNA hydroxymethylation, in the brain's reward circuitry in modulating stress responses in mice. We also identify a subset of genes that are regulated by TET1 in this circuitry. These findings provide new insight into the pathophysiology of depression, which can aid in future antidepressant drug discovery efforts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health