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We demonstrate that stress differentially regulates glutamate homeostasis in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus and identify a role for the astroglial xCT in ventral dentate gyrus (vDG) in stress and antidepressant responses. We provide an RNA-seq roadmap for the stress-sensitive vDG. The transcription factor REST binds to xCT promoter in co-occupancy with the epigenetic marker H3K27ac to regulate expression of xCT, which is also reduced in a genetic mouse model of inherent susceptibility to depressive-like behavior. Pharmacologically, modulating histone acetylation with acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC) or acetyl-N-cysteine (NAC) rapidly increases xCT and activates a network with mGlu2 receptors to prime an enhanced glutamate homeostasis that promotes both pro-resilient and antidepressant-like responses. Pharmacological xCT blockage counteracts NAC prophylactic effects. GFAP+-Cre-dependent overexpression of xCT in vDG mimics pharmacological actions in promoting resilience. This work establishes a mechanism by which vDG protection leads to stress resilience and antidepressant responses via epigenetic programming of an xCT-mGlu2 network. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Carla Nasca, Benedetta Bigio, Danielle Zelli, Paolo de Angelis, Timothy Lau, Masahiro Okamoto, Hideyo Soya, Jason Ni, Lars Brichta, Paul Greengard, Rachael L Neve, Francis S Lee, Bruce S McEwen. Role of the Astroglial Glutamate Exchanger xCT in Ventral Hippocampus in Resilience to Stress. Neuron. 2017 Oct 11;96(2):402-413.e5

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PMID: 29024663

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