Physical stress differs from psychosocial stress in the pattern and time-course of behavioral responses, serum corticosterone and expression of plasticity-related genes in the rat

Alexandra Kavushansky, Dorit Ben-Shachar, Gal Richter-Levin, Ehud Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Stressors differ in their physiological and behavioral outcomes. One of the major mechanisms by which stressors affect the brain and behavior is alteration in neuronal plasticity. We investigated in the rat the effects of a single exposure to psychophysical (electrical foot shock) vs. psychological (social defeat) stressors on anxiety-and depression-related behaviors, serum levels of corticosterone and the expression of plasticity-related genes CAM-L1, CREB, GAP-43, and laminin in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the amygdala and the hippocampus. Rats were examined for 24 h or 1 week after the exposure to stress. Footshocks enhanced anxiety-related behaviors, whereas social defeat induced depression-related behaviors at both time points and less pronounced anxiety 1 week post-exposure. Serum corticosterone concentrations were enhanced 24 h after shocks, but only 1 week after exposure to the social stressor. Moreover, the shock-stressed rats exhibited decreased CAM-L1 protein level in the hippocampus 24 h post-exposure and decreased GAP-43 protein level in the PFC 1 week post-exposure. By contrast, the social stressor enhanced expression of the plasticity-related proteins in the amygdala and the hippocampus, mostly 1 week after the exposure. These results indicate stressor-specific time-dependent changes in different neuronal pathways, and suggest consideration of a cause-specific approach to the treatment of stress-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-425
Number of pages14
JournalStress
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Corticosterone
  • Depression-related behavior
  • Plasticity-related genes
  • Psychophysical stress
  • Psychosocial stress

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