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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008 Sep;32(7):1287-92. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2008.05.005. Epub 2008 May 13.

Vulnerability to lasting anxiogenic effects of brief exposure to predator stimuli: sex, serotonin and other factors-relevance to PTSD.

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Department of Psychology, Memorial University, 232 Elizabeth Avenue, St. John's, NF A1B 3X9, Canada.


Lasting anxiogenic effects of predator stress in rodents may model aspects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is a link between genetic variation in the serotonin (5-HT) transporter (SERT) and anxiety in humans, prompting the generation of SERT knockout mice. This review brings together studies of SERT knockout male mice, normal female mice, and different 5-HT receptors in predator stress effects on anxiety. These studies provide for a link between vulnerability to the anxiogenic effects of predator stress and abnormalities of 5-HT transmission induced by a life long reduction in 5-HT reuptake in male mice, which creates a vulnerability like that seen in normal female mice. Data reviewed suggest abnormalities in 5-HT transmission contribute to vulnerability to lasting anxiogenic effects of species relevant stressors. To the extent to which predator stress effects model aspects of PTSD, and in the light of relevant human literature, these considerations implicate abnormalities of 5-HT transmission in vulnerability to PTSD per se, and as a potential contributor to enhanced female vulnerability to PTSD.

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