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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Nov;27(5):744-55.

Odor-induced variation in anxiety-like behavior in mice is associated with discrete and differential effects on mesocorticolimbic cholecystokinin mRNA expression.

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Institute of Neuroscience, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


The present investigation assessed alterations in mesocorticolimbic cholecystokinin (CCK) mRNA following novel predator and non-predator odor exposure and light-dark testing in CD-1 mice. In brief, acute exposure of CD-1 mice to the predator odor, 2,5-dihydro-2, 4,5-trimethylthiazoline (TMT; the major component of the anal gland secretions of the red fox), or the control odor, butyric acid (BA), suppressed rearing behavior during odor presentation, subsequently induced anxiety in the light dark test, and was associated with increased mesocorticolimbic CCK mRNA relative to saline treated mice. Only mice exposed to TMT displayed elevated freezing behaviors during odor treatment. In the light-dark test, mice exposed to either BA or TMT took longer to reenter the light section of the apparatus and spent less cumulative time in the light relative to mice exposed to saline. The decreased time spent in the light as well as light dark transitions were exaggerated among mice exposed to fox odor. Odor presentation was associated with increased CCK mRNA in mesocorticolimbic sites. Butyric acid was associated with enhanced CCK gene expression in the VTA, while both BA and TMT were associated with increased medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) CCK mRNA levels. Increased CCK mRNA within the VTA and mPFC was evident among mice despite testing in the light-dark box. In contrast, basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) CCK mRNA was enhanced following odor exposure among mice in the light dark test relative only to saline treated mice which demonstrated a natural decrease in BLA CCK mRNA following the light dark test. The differential pattern of CCK mRNA associated with discrete psychogenic stressor manipulations and the provocation of anxiety-like behavior associated with such experiences is discussed.

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