Mitochondrial gene signature in the prefrontal cortex for differential susceptibility to chronic stress
Weger M., Alpern D., Cherix A., Ghosal S., Grosse J., Russeil J., Gruetter R., de Kloet ER., Deplancke B., Sandi C.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>Mitochondrial dysfunction was highlighted as a crucial vulnerability factor for the development of depression. However, systemic studies assessing stress-induced changes in mitochondria-associated genes in brain regions relevant to depression symptomatology remain scarce. Here, we performed a genome-wide transcriptomic study to examine mitochondrial gene expression in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) of mice exposed to multimodal chronic restraint stress. We identified mitochondria-associated gene pathways as most prominently affected in the PFC and with lesser significance in the NAc. A more detailed mitochondrial gene expression analysis revealed that in particular mitochondrial DNA-encoded subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation complexes were altered in the PFC. The comparison of our data with a reanalyzed transcriptome data set of chronic variable stress mice and major depression disorder subjects showed that the changes in mitochondrial DNA-encoded genes are a feature generalizing to other chronic stress-protocols as well and might have translational relevance. Finally, we provide evidence for changes in mitochondrial outputs in the PFC following chronic stress that are indicative of mitochondrial dysfunction. Collectively, our work reinforces the idea that changes in mitochondrial gene expression are key players in the prefrontal adaptations observed in individuals with high behavioral susceptibility and resilience to chronic stress.</jats:p>