BACKGROUND: Emerging data have demonstrated that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ (PPARδ) activation confers a potentially neuroprotective role in some neurodegenerative diseases. However, whether PPARδ is involved in depression is unknown.
METHODS: In this study, PPARδ was firstly investigated in the chronic mild stress (CMS) and learned helplessness (LH) models of depression. The changes in depressive behaviors and hippocampal neurogenesis were investigated after PPARδ overexpression by microinfusion of the lentiviral vector, containing the coding sequence of mouse PPARδ (LV-PPARδ), into the bilateral dentate gyri of the hippocampus or PPARδ activation by repeated systemic administration of PPARδ agonist GW0742 (5 or 10mg/kg.d, i.p., for 21 d).
RESULTS: We found that both CMS and LH resulted in a significant decrease in the PPARδ expression in the hippocampi of mice, and this change was reversed by treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine. PPARδ overexpression and PPARδ activation each suppressed the CMS- and LH-induced depressive-like behavior and produced an antidepressive effect. In vivo or in vitro studies also showed that both overexpression and activation of PPARδ enhanced proliferation or differentiation of neural stem cells in the hippocampi of mice.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that hippocampal PPARδ upregulation represses stress-induced depressive behaviors, accompanied by enhancement of neurogenesis.
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