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Title page for ETD etd-06292015-154010

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Green, Noah Hammond
URN etd-06292015-154010
Title Perinatal Photoperiod Affects the Serotonergic System and Affective Behaviors
Degree PhD
Department Biological Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Terry Page Committee Chair
Douglas McMahon Committee Member
Gregg Stanwood Committee Member
Kenneth Catania Committee Member
Laurence Zwiebel Committee Member
  • Serotonin
  • Melatonin
  • Circadian Rhythms
  • Photoperiod
Date of Defense 2015-05-29
Availability unrestricted
The serotonergic raphe nuclei of the midbrain are principal centers from which serotonin neurons project to innervate cortical and sub-cortical structures. The dorsal raphe nuclei receive light input from the circadian visual system and indirect input from the biological clock nuclei. Dysregulation of serotonin neurotransmission is implicated in neurobehavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as depression, anxiety and autism, and alterations in the serotonergic phenotype of raphe neurons has dramatic effects on affective behaviors in rodents. Here, I demonstrate that day length (photoperiod) during development induces enduring changes in mouse dorsal raphe serotonin neurons - programming their spontaneous neural activity, their responsiveness to noradrenergic stimulation, their intrinsic electrical properties, serotonin and norepinephrine content in the midbrain, gene expression of key serotonergic genes, the ratio of TPH2 positive cells to total cells in the dorsal raphe, as well as depression/anxiety related behavior in a melatonin receptor 1 (MT1) dependent manner. Our results establish mechanisms by which seasonal photoperiods may dramatically and persistently alter the function of serotonin neurons.
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