Central monoamine levels differ between rat strains used in studies of depressive behavior

Jamie L. Scholl, Kenneth J. Renner, Gina L. Forster, Shanaz Tejani-Butt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that the Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat strain may be a genetic model of depression when their behaviors are compared to Sprague-Dawley (SD) or Wistar (WIS) rats. Significant differences in dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT), and norepinephrine (NE) transporter site densities have been reported when comparing WKY to both SD and WIS rats. Susceptibility of WKY rats to anxiety and depressive behavior may be related to underlying differences in monoamine levels in various regions of the brain. Levels of monoamines (DA, 5-HT and NE) and their metabolites were measured in monoaminergic cell body, cortical and limbic brain regions using HPLC with electrochemical detection and compared between WKY, WIS and SD rats. In regions where strain differences in monoamine levels were observed (the basolateral amygdala, subregions of the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens shell), WKY rats consistently had lower levels than SD rats. Similarly, WKY rats had lower monoamine levels compared to WIS, although these differences were observed in a more restricted number of brain regions. Interestingly, WIS rats showed reduced levels of the 5-HT metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in several regions including the prefrontal cortex, subregions of the hippocampus and subregions of the hypothalamus, suggesting decreased 5-HT turnover when compared to both WKY and SD rats. Overall, these results imply that decreased monoamine levels, combined with alterations in transporter sites, may be related to the predisposition of WKY rats towards depressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Oct 8 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal Model
  • Depression
  • Dopamine
  • HPLC
  • Norepinephrine
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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