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Brain Res. 2003 Sep 5;983(1-2):201-8.

Expression of neuropeptide Y and cholecystokinin in the rat brain by chronic mild stress.

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  • 1Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyung Hee University, Kyungki-do, South Korea.


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and cholecystokinin (CCK) are known to play important roles in the response to stress and the control of anxiety. In order to investigate the role of NPY and CCK in chronic mild stress (CMS), an animal model of depression, we examined the effects of CMS on sucrose intake as a measure of anhedonia, and expression of NPY and CCK in the rat brain utilizing immunohistochemistry. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to a variety of chronic unpredictable mild stressors for 8 weeks. CMS rats significantly reduced the consumption of sucrose intake and gained body weight more slowly, compared to control rats. CMS dramatically produced a decrease in NPY expression in several diencephalic regions including the parvocellular subregion of the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVN), the periventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PE), the paraventricular thalamic nucleus (PV) and the arcuate nucleus (ACN). In contrast, CCK-like immunoreactivity throughout these areas was substantially increased in chronic mild stressed rats. These results clearly demonstrated that exposure of chronic mild stress upregulated CCK synthesis and downregulated NPY synthesis within the hypothalamus. The present results demonstrated that there was an inverse relationship between NPY and CCK in mediating stress response in an animal model of depression. These findings suggest that CCK and NPY systems may play important roles in expressing the symptopathology of the chronic stress responses such as depression, abnormality of food intake or anxiety-related disorders.

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