Histone Lysine Demethylases of JMJD2 or KDM4 Family are Important Epigenetic Regulators in Reward Circuitry in the Etiopathology of Depression

Salil Saurav Pathak, Swati Maitra, Sumana Chakravarty, Arvind Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is debilitating mental illness and is one of the leading contributors to global burden of disease, but unfortunately newer and better drugs are not forthcoming. The reason is lack of complete understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying the development of this disorder. Recent research shows dysregulation in epigenetic regulatory mechanisms, particularly the transcriptionally repressive di- and tri-methylation of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9me2/me3) in nucleus accumbens (NAc), a critical region of the reward pathway involved in the development of anhedonia, the hallmark of depression. However, the role of histone lysine demethylases, which can remove methylation from H3K9, in particular Jumonji domain containing demethylases 2 or Jmjd2 family, has not been studied. Using social defeat stress-induced mouse model of depression, this study uncovered that transcripts of most of the Jmjd2 members were unchanged after 5 days of defeat during the onset of depression, but were downregulated after 10 days of defeat in full-blown depression. Blocking the Jumonji domain containing demethylases by chronic administration of inhibitors dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG) and ML324 resulted in depression-like phenotype even in absence of stress exposure, which was associated with an increase in transcriptionally repressive epigenetic marks H3K9me2/me3 in NAc, causing altered neuroplastic changes as reported in NAc in depression models. Thus, we report for the first time that Jmjd2 class demethylases are critical epigenetic regulators involved in etiopathology of depression and related disorders and activation of these demethylases can be a good strategy in the treatment of MDD and related psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-863
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) network project (BSC0115-miND to SC and AK) and DBT India Centre of Excellence in Epigenetics Grant (BT/01/COE/09/07) to AK.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.


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