Pei, S., Liu, L., Zhong, Z., Wang, H., Lin, S., Shang, J. (2016) Risk of prenatal depression and stress treatment: alteration on serotonin system of offspring through exposure to Fluoxetine. Scientific Reports. 6:33822.
Fluoxetine is widely used to treat depression, including depression in pregnant and postpartum women. Studies suggest that fluoxetine may have adverse effects on offspring, presumably through its action on various serotonin receptors (HTRs). However, definitive evidence and the underlying mechanisms are largely unavailable. As initial steps towards establishing a human cellular and animal model, we analyzed the expression patterns of several HTRs through the differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) cells into neuronal cells, and analyzed expression pattern in zebrafish embryos. Treatment of zebrafish embryos with fluoxetine significantly blocked the expression of multiple HTRs. Furthermore, fluoxetine gave rise to a change in neuropsychology. Embryos treated with fluoxetine continued to exhibit abnormal behavior upto 12 days post fertilization due to changes in HTRs. These findings support a possible long-term risk of serotonin pathway alteration, possibly resulting from the "placental drug transfer".