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Neuroscience. 2011 Sep 29;192:334-44. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.06.077. Epub 2011 Jul 2.

Chronic variable physical stress during the peripubertal-juvenile period causes differential depressive and anxiogenic effects in the novelty-seeking phenotype: functional implications for hippocampal and amygdalar brain-derived neurotrophic factor and the mossy fibre plasticity.

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1
Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Department of Biomedical Science, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.

Abstract

Experimentally naive rats show variance in their locomotor reactivity to novelty, some displaying higher (HR) while others displaying lower (LR) reactivity, associated with vulnerability to stress. We employed a chronic variable physical stress regimen incorporating intermittent and random exposures of physical stressors or control handling during the peripubertal-juvenile period to assess interactions between stress and the LRHR phenotype in depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors on the forced swim and social interaction tests, respectively. A decrease in immobility in the forced swim test along with a decrease in social contact in the social interaction test were observed in the juvenile HRs, coupled with increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA in the hippocampus and in the basolateral amygdala with chronic variable physical stress. In contrast, an increase in immobility in the forced swim test and a decrease in social contact was observed in the LR counterparts coupled with an increase in the BDNF mRNA in the basolateral amygdala following chronic variable physical stress. Furthermore, chronic physical stress led to increased H3 and H4 acetylation at the P2 and P4 promoters of the hippocampal BDNF gene in the HR rats that is associated with increased suprapyramidal mossy fibre (SP-MF) terminal field volume. In contrast, chronic variable physical stress led to decreased H4 acetylation at the P4 promoter, associated with decreased SP-MF volume in the LR rats. These findings show dissociation in depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors following chronic variable physical stress in the juvenile HR animals that may be mediated by increased levels of BDNF in the hippocampus and in the amygdala, respectively. Moreover, chronic variable physical stress during the peripubertal-juvenile period results in opposite effects in depressive-like behavior in the LRHR rats by way of inducing differential epigenetic regulation of the hippocampal BDNF gene that, in turn, may mediate mossy fibre sprouting.

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