Reduced cholesterol is associated with the depressive-like behavior in rats through modulation of the brain 5-HT1A receptor.
Lipids Health Dis. 2015 ;14:22. Epub 2015 Mar 24. PMID: 25889773
BACKGROUND: Low serum cholesterol levels are related to an increased risk of depression and its serious consequences. However, the effect of central cholesterol on depressive disorder and its potential regulatory mechanism is poorly understood. Therefore, brain cholesterol in patients with depression may not only decrease the risk for developing this disease but also increase the beneficial effects of treatment for depression.
METHODS: In current study, rats were exposed to chronic mild stress (CMS) for consecutive 28 days, and the depressive-like behavior was tested by sucrose preference test, immobility in the forced swim test, locomotor activity in the open field test, decreased bodyweight and food intake. Additionally, the total cholesterol levels in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the hippocampus of rats were measured by gas chromatograph mass spectrometer. Finally, 5-HT1A receptor antagonist WAY100635 was used to determine the potential role of serotonin system in the interaction between central cholesterol and depression.
RESULTS: CMS significantly reduced total cholesterol levels in the mPFC but not in the hippocampus and resulted in depressive-like behavior. Chronic supplementation of cholesterol by food reversed the depressive-like behavior induced by CMS. Furthermore, pre-injection of 5-HT1A receptor antagonist WAY100635 into the mPFC blocked the treatment effects of cholesterol on the reversal of behavioral response.
CONCLUSION: This finding suggested that cholesterol in the mPFC may have an impact on the sensitivity of the 5-HT1A receptor in the development and treatment of depression. The treatment benefits of cholesterol could be through modulation of the brain 5-HT1A receptor.