Nucleocytoplasmic export of HDAC5 and SIRT2 downregulation: two epigenetic mechanisms by which antidepressants enhance synaptic plasticity markers

I. Muñoz-Cobo, M. M. Erburu, C. Zwergel, R. Cirilli, A. Mai, S. Valente, E. Puerta, Rosa M. Tordera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: Antidepressant action has been linked to increased synaptic plasticity in which epigenetic mechanisms such as histone posttranslational acetylation could be involved. Interestingly, the histone deacetylases HDAC5 and SIRT2 are oppositely regulated by stress and antidepressants in mice prefrontal cortex (PFC). Besides, the neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y line is an in vitro neuronal model reliable to study drug effects with clear advantages over animals. Objectives: We aimed to characterize in vitro the role of HDAC5 and SIRT2 in antidepressant regulation of neuroplasticity. Methods: SH-SY5Y cultures were incubated with imipramine, fluoxetine, and reboxetine (10 μM, 2 and 24 h) as well as the selective HDAC5 (MC3822, 5 μM, 24 h) or SIRT2 (33i, 5 μM, 24 h) inhibitors. The regulation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1), the acetylated histones 3 (AcH3) and 4 (AcH4), HDAC5, and SIRT2 was studied. Comparatively, the long-term effects of these antidepressants (21 days, i.p.) in the mice (C57BL6, 8 weeks) PFC were studied. Results: Antidepressants increased both in vitro and in vivo expression of BDNF, VGLUT1, AcH3, and AcH4. Moreover, imipramine and reboxetine increased the phosphorylated form of HDAC5 (P-HDAC5), mediating its cytoplasmic export. Further, SIRT2 was downregulated by all antidepressants. Finally, specific inhibition of HDAC5 and SIRT2 increased neuroplasticity markers. Conclusions: This study supports the validity of the SH-SY5Y model for studying epigenetic changes linked to synaptic plasticity induced by antidepressants as well as the effect of selective HDAC inhibitors. Particularly, nucleocytoplasmic export of HDAC5 and SIRT2 downregulation mediated by antidepressants could enhance synaptic plasticity markers leading to antidepressant action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2831-2846
Number of pages16
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Antidepressants
  • Histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5)
  • Major depression
  • Prefrontal cortex (PFC)
  • SH-SY5Y
  • Sirtuin 2 (Sirt2)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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