Reduced programmed cell death in brains of serotonin transporter knockout mice

Antonio M. Persico, Alfonso Baldi, Maria Luisa Dell'Acqua, Rainald Moessner, Dennis L. Murphy, Klaus Peter Lesch, Flavio Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Serotonin (5-HT) is known to reduce apoptosis in vitro and in rodent models of brain ischemia. Modulation of programmed cell death during neural development was assessed in early postnatal brains of serotonin transporter (5-HTT) knockout mice, characterized by elevated extracellular 5-HT levels. The number of apoptotic cells visualized at postnatal day-1 (PI) by ISEL+ or TUNEL staining was significantly reduced in the striatum, thalamus/hypothalamus, cerebral cortex and hippocampus of 5-HTT knock-out mice, compared to wild type and heterozygote mice, with differences displaying an increasing fronto-caudal gradient and regional specificity. These findings underscore 5-HT roles in the regulation of programmed cell death during brain development, and spur interest into pharmacological interventions aimed at relieving pathological apoptosis by potentiating serotoninergic neurotransmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-344
Number of pages4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 3 2003


  • Apoptosis
  • Development
  • Homologous recombination
  • Knock-out
  • Monoamine
  • Naturally occurring cell death
  • Programmed cell death
  • Serotonin
  • Serotonin transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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