Dopamine D2L Receptor Deficiency Causes Stress Vulnerability through 5-HT1A Receptor Dysfunction in Serotonergic Neurons

Norifumi Shioda, Yoshiki Imai, Yasushi Yabuki, Wataru Sugimoto, Kouya Yamaguchi, Yanyan Wang, Takatoshi Hikida, Toshikuni Sasaoka, Michihiro Mieda, Kohji Fukunaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Mental disorders are caused by genetic and environmental factors. We here show that deficiency of an isoform of dopamine D2 receptor (D2R), D2LR, causes stress vulnerability in mouse. This occurs through dysfunction of serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] 1A receptor (5-HT1AR) on serotonergic neurons in the mouse brain. Exposure to forced swim stress significantly increased anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors in D2LR knock-out (KO) male mice compared with wild-type mice. Treatment with 8-OH-DPAT, a 5-HT1AR agonist, failed to alleviate the stress-induced behaviors in D2LR-KO mice. In forced swim-stressed D2LR-KO mice, 5-HT efflux in the medial prefrontal cortex was elevated and the expression of genes related to 5-HT levels was upregulated by the transcription factor PET1 in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Notably, D2LR formed a heteromer with 5-HT1AR in serotonergic neurons, thereby suppressing 5-HT1AR-activated G-protein-activated inwardly rectifying potassium conductance in D2LR-KO serotonergic neurons. Finally, D2LR overexpression in serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus alleviated stress vulnerability observed in D2LR-KO mice. Together, we conclude that disruption of the negative feedback regulation by the D2LR/5-HT1A heteromer causes stress vulnerability.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Etiologies of mental disorders are multifactorial, e.g., interactions between genetic and environmental factors. In this study, using a mouse model, we showed that genetic depletion of an isoform of dopamine D2 receptor, D2LR, causes stress vulnerability associated with dysfunction of serotonin 1A receptor, 5-HT1AR in serotonergic neurons. The D2LR/5-HT1AR inhibitory G-protein-coupled heteromer may function as a negative feedback regulator to suppress psychosocial stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7551-7563
Number of pages13
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep 18


  • 5-HT1AR
  • D2R
  • dopamine
  • mental disorders
  • serotonin
  • stress vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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