Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Cerebellar 5HT-2A receptor mediates stress-induced onset of dystonia

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Science Advances  03 Mar 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 10, eabb5735
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb5735


Stress is a key risk factor for dystonia, a debilitating motor disorder characterized by cocontractions of muscles leading to abnormal body posture. While the serotonin (5HT) system is known to control emotional responses to stress, its role in dystonia remains unclear. Here, we reveal that 5HT neurons in the dorsal raphe nuclei (DRN) send projections to the fastigial deep cerebellar nuclei (fDCN) and that photostimulation of 5HT-fDCN induces dystonia in wild-type mice. Moreover, we report that photoinhibition of 5HT-fDCN reduces dystonia in a1Atot/tot mice, a genetic model of stress-induced dystonia, and administration of a 5HT-2A receptor inverse agonist (MDL100907; 0.1 to 1 mg/kg) or shRNA-mediated knockdown of the ht2ar gene in fDCN can notably reduce the onset of dystonia in a1Atot/tot mice. These results support the serotonin theory of dystonia and suggest strategies for alleviating symptoms in human patients by blocking 5HT-2A receptors.

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