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Keywords:

  • GTPγS;
  • ECS;
  • ECT;
  • hippocampus;
  • PYY

Abstract

Although electroconvulsive seizures (ECS) are widely used as a treatment for severe depression, the working mechanism of ECS remains unclear. Repeated ECS causes anticonvulsant effects that have been proposed to underlie the therapeutic effect of ECS, and neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a potential candidate for mediating this anticonvulsant effect. Repeated ECS results in prominent increases in NPY synthesis. In contrast, NPY-sensitive receptor binding is decreased, so it is unclear whether ECS causes a net increase in NPY signalling. Agonist-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding is a method for detecting functional activation of G-protein-coupled receptors. The present study in mice examined the effects of daily ECS for 14 days on NPY-stimulated [35S]GTPγS functional binding and compared this with gene expression of NPY and NPY receptors as well as [125I]peptide YY (PYY) binding in hippocampus of the same animals. Significant increases in NPY mRNA and concomitant reductions in NPY-sensitive binding were found in the dentate gyrus, hippocampal CA1, and neocortex of ECS treated mice, which is consistent with previous rat data. These changes remained significant 1 week after repeated ECS. Significant increases in NPY Y1, Y2, and Y5 mRNA were found in the dentate gyrus after ECS. Surprisingly, unaltered levels of functional NPY receptor binding accompanied the decreased NPY-sensitive binding. This suggests that mechanisms coupling NPY receptor stimulation to G-protein activation could be augmented after repeated ECS. Thus increased synthesis of NPY after repeated ECS should result in a net increase in NPY signalling in spite of reduced levels of NPY-sensitive binding. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.