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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1993 Feb;44(2):371-4.

Effect of conditioned fear stress on serotonin metabolism in the rat brain.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


The effects of electric foot-shock stress (EFS) and conditioned fear stress (CFS) on serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] metabolism in seven various brain regions of the rat were studied by measuring tryptophan, 5-HT and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA). EFS for 30 min increased tryptophan levels in almost all brain regions but did not change 5-HT levels in any regions. It increased 5-HIAA levels in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), nucleus accumbens, and amygdala. CFS (exposure to an environment paired previously with foot-shock) increased defecation and induced freezing behavior. It failed to change tryptophan and 5-HT levels in any brain regions but increased 5-HIAA level only in the mPFC. In contrast to EFS, which increased 5-HT metabolism in several other brain regions, increased metabolism of 5-HT was especially marked in the mPFC after CFS, regarded as psychological stress.

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