Manipulation of retinoic acid signaling in the nucleus accumbens shell alters rat emotional behavior

Yafang Zhang, Elizabeth J. Crofton, Tileena E.S. Smith, Shyny Koshy, Dingge Li, Thomas Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Novel targets for depression and anxiety disorders are necessary for the development of more effective pharmacotherapeutics. Our previous study found that the retinoic acid (RA) signaling pathway is the signaling pathway most enhanced in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell, a region important for depression, anxiety, and addiction. Genetic manipulations of RA signaling in the NAc affecting addiction-related behavior prompted our study of the role of retinoic acid signaling in depression-related and anxiety-related behavior using in vivo RNA interference. Knockdown of the retinoic acid degradation enzyme cytochrome p450 family 26 subfamily b member 1 (Cyp26b1) in the nucleus accumbens shell increased depression-related behavior while decreasing anxiety-like behavior. Knockdown of the retinoic acid binding protein, cellular RA binding protein 2 (Crabp2), also increased depression-related behavior. Knockdown of another RA binding partner fatty acid binding protein 5 (Fabp5), did not alter these behaviors. These results further support the contention that RA signaling in the NAc shell can affect emotional behavior and that targeting some components of this pathway could be a promising avenue for developing novel treatments for depression and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112177
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Dec 30 2019



  • All-trans retinoic acid
  • Anhedonia
  • Behavioral phenotyping
  • Cold stress
  • Elevated plus maze
  • Forced swim test
  • Locomotor activity
  • Neophobia
  • Retinal
  • Retinoids
  • Retinol
  • Social behavior
  • Sucrose preference
  • Tretinoin
  • Ventral striatum
  • Vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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