Gene Expression Profiling of the Habenula in Rats Exposed to Chronic Restraint Stress

Hyeijung Yoo, Hyun Jung Kim, Soo Hyun Yang, Gi Hoon Son, Jeong An Gim, Hyun Woo Lee, Hyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Chronic stress contributes to the risk of developing depression; the habenula, a nucleus in epithalamus, is associated with many neuropsychiatric disorders. Using genome-wide gene expression analysis, we analyzed the transcriptome of the habenula in rats exposed to chronic restraint stress for 14 days. We identified 379 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that were affected by chronic stress. These genes were enriched in neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, the cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) signaling pathway, circadian entrainment, and synaptic signaling from the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis and responded to corticosteroids, positive regulation of lipid transport, anterograde trans-synaptic signaling, and chemical synapse transmission from the Gene Ontology analysis. Based on protein–protein interaction network analysis of the DEGs, we identified neuroactive ligand-receptor interactions, circadian entrainment, and cholinergic synapse-related subclusters. Additionally, cell type and habenular regional expression of DEGs, evaluated using a recently published single-cell RNA sequencing study (GSE137478), strongly suggest that DEGs related to neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction and trans-synaptic signaling are highly enriched in medial habenular neurons. Taken together, our findings provide a valuable set of molecular targets that may play important roles in mediating the habenular response to stress and the onset of chronic stress-induced depressive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-312
Number of pages7
JournalMolecules and cells
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 31


  • chronic restraint stress
  • depression
  • gene enrichment analysis
  • gene expression profiling
  • habenula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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