A.P.V.-S. and J.M.P. contributed equally to this work.
Stress shifts the response of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis to an anxiogenic mode
Article first published online: 28 AUG 2012
© 2012 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2012 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
European Journal of Neuroscience
Volume 36, Issue 10, pages 3396–3406, November 2012
How to Cite
Ventura-Silva, A. P., Pêgo, J. M., Sousa, J. C., Marques, A. R., Rodrigues, A. J., Marques, F., Cerqueira, J. J., Almeida, O. F. X. and Sousa, N. (2012), Stress shifts the response of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis to an anxiogenic mode. European Journal of Neuroscience, 36: 3396–3406. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2012.08262.x
- Issue published online: 19 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 28 AUG 2012
- Received 2 April 2012, revised 10 July 2012, accepted 18 July 2012
- bed nucleus of the stria terminalis;
The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is critically implicated in anxiety behavior and control of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis. Having previously shown that chronic stress triggers dendritic/synaptic remodeling in specific nuclei of the BNST, we characterised the pattern of activation of neurons within different regions of the BNST under basal conditions and after an anxiogenic stimulus in control and stressed rats. Under basal conditions, stressed, but not control, animals displayed increased cFOS expression in the dorsomedial nucleus and decreased activation of the principal nucleus. This pattern resembled that observed in controls that had been exposed to the anxiogenic stimulus. Subsequent analysis of various BNST subnuclei revealed differential patterns of gene expression in controls and stressed animals. We found decreased levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone 1 receptor mRNA expression in the dorsomedial and fusiform nuclei, and a global increase in the levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone 2 receptor in the principal nucleus. In addition, we found subnuclei-specific increases in GABAA and NR2B receptors in stressed animals, which suggest changes in the GABAergic and glutamergic innervation of the BNST. Importantly, these findings were associated with increased anxiety-like behavior and impaired control of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis in stressed animals. In summary, these data reveal that chronic stress shifts the pattern of response of the BNST to an anxiogenic mode and provide new information on the underlying mechanisms of the stress-induced hypercorticalism and hyperanxious status.