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J Mol Neurosci. 2013 Feb;49(2):360-8. doi: 10.1007/s12031-012-9874-6. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

Changes in 5-HT1A receptor expression in the oculomotor nucleus in a rat model of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1Department of Electron Microscopy, College of Basic Medical Sciences, China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, 110001, China.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a life-threatening traumatic experience. Mental disorder appears after the traumatic stress incident and affects the movement of the eye muscle dominated by the oculomotor nucleus, an important nuclear group of the brainstem. It has been reported that dysfunction of the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) can lead to the instability of the internal environment in response to stress and plays an important role in the pathology of PTSD and that the 5-HT1A receptor (5-HT1AR) is critically involved in regulating mood and anxiety levels. In this study, the 5-HT1AR expression in the oculomotor nucleus was examined in rats with single-prolonged stress (SPS), a well established post-traumatic stress disorder animal model. Our results show that the expression of 5-HT1AR in the oculomotor nucleus neurons gradually increased 1, 4, and 7 days after exposure to SPS in comparison to the normal control group, measured by immunohistochemistry, western blotting, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The expression of 5-HT1AR reached its peak 7 days after the SPS exposure and then decreased 14 days after. There is also a change in the ultrastructure in the oculomotor nucleus neuron upon SPS treatment which was observed by transmission electron microscopy. These results suggest that SPS can induce a change of the 5-HT1AR expression in the oculomotor nucleus, which may be one of the molecular mechanisms that lead to PTSD.

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