Elucidation of the Behavioral Program and Neuronal Network Encoded by Dorsal Raphe Serotonergic Neurons

Daniel J. Urban, Hu Zhu, Catherine A. Marcinkiewcz, Michael Michaelides, Hidehiro Oshibuchi, Darren Rhea, Dipendra K. Aryal, Martilias S. Farrell, Emily Lowery-Gionta, Reid H.J. Olsen, William C. Wetsel, Thomas L. Kash, Yasmin L. Hurd, Laurence H. Tecott, Bryan L. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Elucidating how the brain's serotonergic network mediates diverse behavioral actions over both relatively short (minutes-hours) and long period of time (days-weeks) remains a major challenge for neuroscience. Our relative ignorance is largely due to the lack of technologies with robustness, reversibility, and spatio-temporal control. Recently, we have demonstrated that our chemogenetic approach (eg, Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs)) provides a reliable and robust tool for controlling genetically defined neural populations. Here we show how short- and long-term activation of dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) serotonergic neurons induces robust behavioral responses. We found that both short- and long-term activation of DRN serotonergic neurons induce antidepressant-like behavioral responses. However, only short-term activation induces anxiogenic-like behaviors. In parallel, these behavioral phenotypes were associated with a metabolic map of whole brain network activity via a recently developed non-invasive imaging technology DREAMM (DREADD Associated Metabolic Mapping). Our findings reveal a previously unappreciated brain network elicited by selective activation of DRN serotonin neurons and illuminate potential therapeutic and adverse effects of drugs targeting DRN neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1404-1415
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016


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