DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCEReduced programmed cell death in brains of serotonin transporter knockout micePersico, Antonio M.CA; Baldi, Alfonso2; Dell'Acqua, Maria Luisa; Moessner, Rainald3; Murphy, Dennis L.4; Lesch, Klaus-Peter3; Keller, Flavio1Author Information Laboratory of Molecular Psychiatry and Neurogenetics 1Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience and Neuroplasticity, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Center, University Campus Bio-Medico, Via Longoni 83, I-00155 Rome 2Department of Biochemistry, Section of Pathology, II University of Naples, Italy 3Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Wuerzburg, Germany 4Laboratory of Clinical Science, NIMH/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA CACorresponding Author: firstname.lastname@example.org Received 11 October 2002; accepted 3 January 2003 NeuroReport: March 3rd, 2003 - Volume 14 - Issue 3 - p 341-344 Buy Abstract Serotonin (5-HT) is known to reduce apoptosis in vitro and in rodent models of brain ischemia. Modulation of programmed cell death during neural development was assessed in early postnatal brains of serotonin transporter (5-HTT) knockout mice, characterized by elevated extracellular 5-HT levels. The number of apoptotic cells visualized at postnatal day-1 (P1) by ISEL+ or TUNEL staining was significantly reduced in the striatum, thalamus/hypothalamus, cerebral cortex and hippocampus of 5-HTT knockout mice, compared to wild type and heterozygote mice, with differences displaying an increasing fronto-caudal gradient and regional specificity. These findings underscore 5-HT roles in the regulation of programmed cell death during brain development, and spur interest into pharmacological interventions aimed at relieving pathological apoptosis by potentiating serotoninergic neurotransmission. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.