Superoxide dismutase overexpression protects against glucocorticoid-induced depressive-like behavioral phenotypes in mice

Yuki Uchihara, Ken-Ichiro Tanaka, Teita Asano, Fumiya Tamura, Tohru Mizushima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In the stress response, activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and particularly the release of glucocorticoids, plays a critical role. However, dysregulation of this system and sustained high plasma levels of glucocorticoids can result in depression. Recent studies have suggested the involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as superoxide anion, in depression. However, direct evidence for a role of ROS in the pathogenesis of this disorder is lacking. In this study, using transgenic mice expressing human Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1), an enzyme that catalyzes the dismutation of superoxide anions, we examined the effect of SOD1 overexpression on depressive-like behavioral phenotypes in mice. Depressive-like behaviors were induced by daily subcutaneous administration of the glucocorticoid corticosterone for 4 weeks, and was monitored with the social interaction test, the sucrose preference test and the forced swim test. These tests revealed that transgenic mice overexpressing SOD1 are more resistant to glucocorticoid-induced depressive-like behavioral disorders than wild-type animals. Furthermore, compared with wild-type mice, transgenic mice showed a reduction in the number of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (a marker of oxidative stress)-positive cells in the hippocampal CA3 region following corticosterone administration. These results suggest that overexpression of SOD1 protects mice against glucocorticoid-induced depressive-like behaviors by decreasing cellular ROS levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-877
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 22


  • Depression
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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