Journal Papers Acute stress differentially affects corticotropin-releasing hormone mRNA expression in the central amygdala of the depressed flinders sensitive line and the control flinders resistant line rats.


Preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that neuropeptides play a role in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of the peptides corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), neuropeptide Y (NPY) and nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) and of their receptors in the regulation of emotional behaviours. In situ hybridization experiments were performed in order to evaluate the mRNA expression levels of these neuropeptidergic systems in limbic and limbic-related brain regions of the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rats, a putative genetic animal model of depression. The FSL and their controls, the Flinders Resistant Line (FRL) rats, were subjected to one hour acute restraint and the effects of the stress exposure, including possible strain specific changes on these neuropeptidergic systems, were studied. In basal conditions, no significant differences between FSL and FRL rats in the CRH mRNA expression were found, however an upregulation of the CRH mRNA hybridization signal was detected in the central amygdala of the stressed FRL, compared to the non stressed FRL rats, but not in the FSL, suggesting a hypoactive mechanism of response to stressful stimuli in the depressed FSL rats. Baseline levels of NPY and N/OFQ mRNA were lower in the FSL rats compared to the FRL in the dentate gyrus of hippocampus and in the medial amygdala, respectively. However, the exposure to stress induced a significant upregulation of the N/OFQ mRNA levels in the paraventricular thalamic nucleus, while in the same nucleus the N/OFQ receptor mRNA expression was higher in the FSL rats. In conclusion, selective alterations of the NPY and N/OFQ mRNA in limbic and limbic-related regions of the FSL rats, a putative animal model of depression, provide further support for the involvement of these neuropeptides in depressive disorders. Moreover, the lack of CRH activation following stress in the depressed FSL rats suggests a form of allostatic load, that could alter their interpretation of environmental stimuli and influence their behavioural response to stressful situations.

Paper Details


E. Zambello,  P. Jimenez,  A. ElKhoury,  A. Mathè,  L. Caberlotto


Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. , 32, , 651-61