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Neurosci Res. 2013 Feb;75(2):130-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Single prolonged stress enhances hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor and phosphorylated protein kinase B levels.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA.


Animal models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can explore neurobiological mechanisms by which trauma enhances fear and anxiety reactivity. Single prolonged stress (SPS) shows good validity in producing PTSD-like behavior. While SPS-induced behaviors have been linked to enhanced glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression, the molecular ramifications of enhanced GR expression have yet to be identified. Phosphorylated protein kinase B (pAkt) is critical for stress-mediated enhancement in general anxiety and memory, and may be regulated by GRs. However, it is currently unknown if pAkt levels are modulated by SPS, as well as if the specificity of GR and pAkt related changes contribute to anxiety-like behavior after SPS. The current study set out to examine the effects of SPS on GR and pAkt protein levels in the amygdala and hippocampus and to examine the specificity of these changes to unconditioned anxiety-like behavior. Levels of GR and pAkt were increased in the hippocampus, but not amygdala. Furthermore, SPS had no effect on unconditioned anxiety-like behavior suggesting that generalized anxiety is not consistently observed following SPS. The results suggest that SPS-enhanced GR expression is associated with phosphorylation of Akt, and also suggest that these changes are not related to an anxiogenic phenotype.

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