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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Nov 16;101(46):16345-50. Epub 2004 Nov 2.

Tissue plasminogen activator promotes the effects of corticotropin-releasing factor on the amygdala and anxiety-like behavior.

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Laboratory of Neurobiology and Genetics, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Stress-induced plasticity in the brain requires a precisely orchestrated sequence of cellular events involving novel as well as well known mediators. We have previously demonstrated that tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) in the amygdala promotes stress-induced synaptic plasticity and anxiety-like behavior. Here, we show that tPA activity in the amygdala is up-regulated by a major stress neuromodulator, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), acting on CRF type-1 receptors. Compared with WT, tPA-deficient mice responded to CRF treatment with attenuated expression of c-fos (an indicator of neuronal activation) in the central and medial amygdala but had normal c-fos responses in paraventricular nuclei. They exhibited reduced anxiety-like behavior to CRF but had a sustained corticosterone response after CRF administration. This effect of tPA deficiency was not mediated by plasminogen, because plasminogen-deficient mice demonstrated normal behavioral and hormonal changes to CRF. These studies establish tPA as an important mediator of cellular, behavioral, and hormonal responses to CRF.

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