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J Neurosci. 1999 Apr 1;19(7):2834-40.

Lateralized effects of medial prefrontal cortex lesions on neuroendocrine and autonomic stress responses in rats.

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1
Douglas Hospital Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montréal, Québec Canada H4H 1R3.

Abstract

The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is highly activated by stress and modulates neuroendocrine and autonomic function. Dopaminergic inputs to mPFC facilitate coping ability and demonstrate considerable hemispheric functional lateralization. The present study investigated the potentially lateralized regulation of stress responses at the level of mPFC output neurons, using ibotenic acid lesions. Neuroendocrine function was assessed by plasma corticosterone increases in response to acute or repeated 20 min restraint stress. The primary index of autonomic activation was gastric ulcer development during a separate cold restraint stress. Restraint-induced defecation was also monitored. Plasma corticosterone levels were markedly lower in response to repeated versus acute restraint stress. In acutely restrained animals, right or bilateral, but not left mPFC lesions, decreased prestress corticosterone levels, whereas in repeatedly restrained rats, the same lesions significantly reduced the peak stress-induced corticosterone response. Stress ulcer development (after a single cold restraint stress) was greatly reduced by either right or bilateral mPFC lesions but was unaffected by left lesions. Restraint-induced defecation was elevated in animals with left mPFC lesions. Finally, a left-biased asymmetry in adrenal gland weights was observed across animals, which was unaffected by mPFC lesions. The results suggest that mPFC output neurons demonstrate an intrinsic right brain specialization in both neuroendocrine and autonomic activation. Such findings may be particularly relevant to clinical depression which is associated with both disturbances in stress regulatory systems and hemispheric imbalances in prefrontal function.

PMID:
10087094
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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