Prolonged and site-specific over-expression of corticotropin-releasing factor reveals differential roles for extended amygdala nuclei in emotional regulation

L. Regev, A. Neufeld-Cohen, M. Tsoory, Y. Kuperman, D. Getselter, S. Gil, A. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) has a key role in the central stress response, and altered levels of this neuropeptide are linked to stress-related psychopathologies such as anxiety and depression. These disorders are associated with the inability to properly regulate stress response, specifically following exposure to prolonged stressful stimuli. Therefore, the current study assessed the effects of prolonged and site-specific over-expression of CRF, which mimics the state of chronic production, in extended amygdala nuclei that are known to be involved in mediating anxiety-like states. We first constructed and generated lentiviruses that overexpress (OE) CRF in a robust and stable manner, and then generated two male mouse models continuously over-expressing CRF, either at the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), or at the dorsolateral subdivision of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNSTdl). After 4 months, behavioral assessments were conducted for anxiety and depressive indices on these mice. Surprisingly, prolonged CRF OE at the CeA attenuated stress-induced anxiety-like behaviors, whereas prolonged CRF OE in the BNSTdl increased depressive-like behaviors, without affecting anxiety levels. These results show possible differential roles for CRF expressed by distinct loci of the extended amygdala, in mediating stress-induced emotional behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-728
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Volume16
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • amygdala
  • bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST)
  • corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)
  • lentiviruses
  • stress

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