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Behavioural Brain Research


Background: Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide. There is increasing evidence showing that depression is associated with the pathophysiology in amygdala; however, the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood.

Method: We established a rat model of chronic social defeat stress (CSDS) and conducted a series of behavior tests to observe behavioral changes. Then liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS)-based metabolomics and isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-based proteomics were employed to detect metabolomes and proteomes in the amygdala, respectively. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) and other bioinformatic analyses were used to analyze differentially expressed metabolites and proteins.

Results: The significantly lower sucrose preference index in the sucrose preference test and longer immobile time in the forced swim test were observed in the CSDS rats compared with control rats. In the multi-omics analysis, thirty-seven significantly differentially expressed metabolites and 123 significant proteins were identified. Integrated analysis of differentially expressed metabolites and proteins by IPA revealed molecular changes mainly associated with synaptic plasticity, phospholipase c signaling, and glutamine degradation I. We compared the metabolites in the amygdala with those in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex from our previous studies and found two common metabolites: arachidonic acid and N-acetyl-l-aspartic acid among these three brain regions.

Conclusion: Our study revealed the presence of depressive-like behaviors and molecular changes of amygdala in the CSDS rat model, which may provide further insights into the pathogenesis of depression, and help to identify potential targets for antidepressants.



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Amygdala, Depression, Metabolomics, Proteomics, Social defeat, Synaptic plasticity