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Physiol Behav. 2015 Jul 1;146:7-15.

Chronic social subordination stress modulates glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) 67 mRNA expression in central stress circuits.


Chronic social subordination is a well-known precipitant of numerous psychiatric and physiological health concerns. In this study, we examine the effects of chronic social stress in the visible burrow system (VBS) on the expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) 67 and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) mRNA in forebrain stress circuitry. Male rats in the VBS system form a dominance hierarchy, whereby subordinate males exhibit neuroendocrine and physiological profiles characteristic of chronic exposure to stress. We found that social subordination decreases GAD67 mRNA in the peri-paraventricular nucleus region of the hypothalamus and the interfascicular nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), and increases in GAD67 mRNA in the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, and dorsal medial hypothalamus. Expression of BDNF mRNA increased in the dorsal region of the BNST, but remained unchanged in all other regions examined. Results from this study indicate that social subordination is associated with several region-specific alterations in GAD67 mRNA expression in central stress circuits, whereas changes in the expression of BDNF mRNA are limited to the BNST.

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