Developmental changes in the mRNA expression of neuropeptides and dopamine and glutamate receptors in neonates and adult rats after ventral hippocampal lesion

Rana El-Rawas, Nayef E. Saadé, Nathalie Thiriet, Samir Atweh, Mohamed Jaber, Hassen Al Amin

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The neurodevelopment of hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are known to influence different functions in normal and pathological conditions including cognition and sensorimotor functions. The neonatal lesion of the ventral hippocampus (VH) in rats has been established as an animal model of schizophrenia and is used to study postpubertal changes in behavior and neurobiology. In order to investigate whether early VH lesion in rats alters the expression of genes implicated in schizophrenia pre- and post-puberty, we studied the mRNA expression of neuropeptides (substance P, dynorphin and enkephalin), dopamine D1, dopamine D2, and NMDA (subunits NR1 and NR2A) receptors in this animal model. Methods: Rat pups were lesioned at postnatal day 7 by injecting ibotenic acid into the VH bilaterally, and then sacrificed at age 35 (pre-puberty) and 65 (post-puberty) days. Another group of adult rats had the same lesion in the VH, to independently assess the effects of the lesion on the expression of genes, and then sacrificed at week 4 and 8 post lesion. Sham groups were injected with cerebrospinal fluid using the same procedure. Brains were removed and sectioned to study the mRNA expression using in situ hybridization (ISH). Results: The main results are the postpubertal onset of increased NR1 mRNA expression in all cortical regions and decreased dopamine D2 receptor, substance P and enkephalin mRNA expression in the striatum only in rats lesioned as neonates. These changes were not observed in the adult group with VH lesion. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the postpubertal behavioral changes in this animal model (and possibly schizophrenia) are related to postpubertal onset of changes in the development of functions and interactions of the dopamine and glutamate receptors in the mesocortical system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-307
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Dopamine
  • Glutamate
  • In situ hybridization
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Opiates
  • Schizophrenia
  • Ventral hippocampus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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