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Synapse. 2003 Mar 15;47(4):270-7.

Neonatal ventral hippocampal damage modifies serum corticosterone and dopamine release responses to acute footshock in adult Sprague-Dawley rats.

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Laboratory of Experimental Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences Medical Research Center, Warsaw, Poland.


Rats with excitotoxic neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions (NVHL) manifest in early adulthood a variety of behavioral and neurochemical abnormalities mimicking those seen in patients with schizophrenia. Some of these aberrations implicate malfunction of the midbrain dopamine systems. We studied NVHL effects on dopamine release in the rat frontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and striatum during acute stress caused by inescapable continuous footshock (0.45 mA). Serum total corticosterone and prolactin levels were used as peripheral indices of stress. As an indirect index of dopamine release, tissue 3-methoxytyramine levels attained in vivo 10 min after monoamine oxidase inhibition was assayed in rats sacrificed by instantaneous microwave fixation of the brain tissue. Nonshocked NVHL rats showed significantly less nucleus accumbens' 3-methoxytyramine accumulation than their sham counterparts. Frontal cortical 3-methoxytyramine levels rose similarly after 20-min footshock in both groups of rats, but while it normalized after 60-min footshock in the sham rats, it did not decrease in the NVHL rats. Nucleus accumbens' 3-methoxytyramine was significantly elevated after either 20-min or 60-min footshock in both groups, whereas striatal 3-methoxytyramine was significantly elevated in the NVHL rats only. Serum corticosterone showed similar elevations in the sham and NVHL rats, but the patterns differed in that there was no attenuation after 60-min footshock in the latter. The lesion did not affect serum prolactin response. These data indicate that neonatal ventral hippocampal damage enhances and prolongs certain neural and neuroendocrine responses to acute physical stressor(s), and thus may affect adaptation and enhance detrimental effects of stress.

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