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Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Mar 15;55(6):634-41.

Genomic regions controlling corticosterone levels in rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06519, USA.



The identification of genetic factors controlling stress-responsiveness should advance the understanding of susceptibility to psychiatric illness.


Rat strains, F344/NHsd and LEW/NHsd, which differ in measures of stress-responsiveness and behaviors modeling psychiatric disorders, were bred to generate F2 progeny that were used in a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis to identify genomic regions influencing late-afternoon corticosterone levels.


Regions on chromosomes 4 and 10 previously identified as influencing autoimmune phenomena were the most significant QTL observed, reaching suggestive significance at the genome-wide level. Congenic animals targeting these regions with F344/NHsd deoxyribonucleic acid on a DA/Bkl genomic background demonstrated corticosterone levels approximating those of F344/NHsd rats and differing significantly from DA/Bkl rats.


Specific genomic regions influence both corticosterone levels and stress-related disease susceptibility. These findings not only represent the first identification of QTL controlling corticosterone levels but also suggest a mechanism underlying genetic differences in stress-responsiveness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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