Pre-reproductive stress and fluoxetine treatment in rats affect offspring A-to-I RNA editing, gene expression and social behavior

Hiba Zaidan, Gokul Ramaswami, Michal Barak, Jin B. Li, Inna Gaisler-Salomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adenosine to inosine RNA editing is an epigenetic process that entails site-specific modifications in double-stranded RNA molecules, catalyzed by adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADARs). Using the multiplex microfluidic PCR and deep sequencing technique, we recently showed that exposing adolescent female rats to chronic unpredictable stress before reproduction affects editing in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala of their newborn offspring, particularly at the serotonin receptor 5-HT2c (encoded by Htr2c). Here, we used the same technique to determine whether post-stress, pre-reproductive maternal treatment with fluoxetine (5 mg/kg, 7 days) reverses the effects of stress on editing. We also examined the mRNA expression of ADAR enzymes in these regions, and asked whether social behavior in adult offspring would be altered by maternal exposure to stress and/or fluoxetine. Maternal treatment with fluoxetine altered Htr2c editing in offspring amygdala at birth, enhanced the expression of Htr2c mRNA and RNA editing enzymes in the prefrontal cortex, and reversed the effects of pre-reproductive stress on Htr2c editing in this region. Furthermore, maternal fluoxetine treatment enhanced differences in editing of glutamate receptors between offspring of control and stress-exposed rats, and led to enhanced social preference in adult offspring. Our findings indicate that pre-gestational fluoxetine treatment affects patterns of RNA editing and editing enzyme expression in neonatal offspring brain in a region-specific manner, in interaction with pre-reproductive stress. Overall, these findings imply that fluoxetine treatment affects serotonergic signaling in offspring brain even when treatment is discontinued before gestation, and its effects may depend upon prior exposure to stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdvy021
JournalEnvironmental Epigenetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press.


  • Htr2c
  • RNA editing
  • fluoxetine
  • intergenerational
  • rat
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Genetics(clinical)


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