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Neuroscience. 2003;122(1):1-4.

Effect of blockade of corticotropin-releasing factor receptors in the median raphe nucleus on stress-induced c-fos mRNA in the rat brain.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1.


Using a rat relapse model, we have shown that infusion of a corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) receptor antagonist into the median raphe nucleus (MRN) blocks footshock stress-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking in rats. The goal of the present study was to begin identifying brain sites potentially involved in this effect. For this purpose, we measured levels of c-fos mRNA in discrete nuclei of the rat brain following exposure to intermittent footshock, which was preceded by intra-MRN infusions of a CRF receptor antagonist, d-Phe CRF (0 or 50 ng). Exposure to intermittent footshock increased the expression of c-fos mRNA in a number of brain regions previously shown to be responsive to stressful stimuli. Pretreatment with d-Phe CRF in the MRN selectively attenuated the increases in c-fos mRNA induced by footshock in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). These findings are consistent with previous data on the important role for the CeA in stress-induced reinstatement of drug seeking. These results also suggest that inhibition of CeA activity may contribute to the blockade of alcohol-seeking induced by footshock that we have observed following injections of d-Phe into the MRN.

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