Sigma-1 receptor (Sig-1R) is a molecular chaperone regulating calcium efflux from the neuronal endoplasmic reticulum to the mitochondria. Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV (CaMKIV) null mice exhibit depressive-like behaviors and impaired neurogenesis as assessed by bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation into newborn cells of the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG). Here, we demonstrate that chronic stimulation of Sig-1R by treatment with the agonist SA4503 or the SSRI fluvoxamine for 14 days improves depressive-like behaviors in CaMKIV null mice. By contrast, treatment with paroxetine, which lacks affinity for Sig-1R, did not alter these behaviors. Reduced numbers of BrdU-positive cells and decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression and protein kinase B (Akt; Ser-473) phosphorylation seen in the DG of CaMKIV null mice were significantly rescued by chronic Sig-1R stimulation. Interestingly, reduced ATP production observed in the DG of CaMKIV null mice was improved by chronic Sig-1R stimulation. Such stimulation also improved hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) induction and maintenance, which are impaired in the DG of CaMKIV null mice. LTP rescue was closely associated with both increases in calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) autophosphorylation and GluA1 (Ser-831) phosphorylation. Taken together, Sig-1R stimulation by SA4503 or fluvoxamine treatment increased hippocampal neurogenesis, which is closely associated with amelioration of depressive-like behaviors in CaMKIV null mice.
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