Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/928570
- Ability of predator odour exposure to elicit conditioned versus sensitised post traumatic stress disorder-like behaviours, and forebrain ∆FosB expression, in rats
Beig, M. I.;
Day, T. A.;
Walker, F. R.
- The University of Newcastle. Faculty of Health, School of Medicine and Public Health
- At present, exposure of a rodent to the odour of a predator is one of the most common animal models of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite this, the model remains incompletely characterized, particularly in regard to within subject assessment of major PTSD-like behaviours. In an attempt to redress this situation, we have extensively characterized the two broad categories of behaviour that are considered to characterize PTSD, that is sensitized behaviours such as social withdrawal and hypervigilance and conditioned behaviours such as avoidance of trauma linked cues. Specifically, we determined the presence and duration of both conditioned and sensitized behaviours, in the same cohort of animals, after three exposures to predator odour. Conditioned fear was assessed on the basis of inhibition of locomotor activity upon return to context 2, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after the last odour exposure session. To assess the impact on sensitization behaviours, we monitored acoustic startle responses and social interaction behaviour 4, 9, 16, 23, and 30 days after the last exposure session. In addition to examining the behavioural consequences associated with odour exposure, we also determined the key brain regions that were activated using ΔFosB immunohistochemistry. Our results show that the two groups of behaviours thought to characterize PTSD (conditioned and sensitized) do not travel together in the predator odour model, with clear evidence of enduring changes in conditioned fear but little evidence of changes in social interaction or acoustic startle. With regard to associated patterns of activity in the brain, we observed that odour-exposed animals exhibited significantly higher numbers of FosB-positive nuclei in only the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a finding that can be viewed as being consistent with the observed behavioural changes.
- Neuroscience Vol. 169, Issue 2, p. 733-742
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