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Mouse social stress induces increased fear conditioning, helplessness and fatigue to physical challenge together with markers of altered immune and dopamine function


Azzinnari, Damiano; Sigrist, Hannes; Staehli, Simon; Palme, Rupert; Hildebrandt, Tobias; Leparc, German; Hengerer, Bastian; Seifritz, Erich; Pryce, Christopher R (2014). Mouse social stress induces increased fear conditioning, helplessness and fatigue to physical challenge together with markers of altered immune and dopamine function. Neuropharmacology, 85:328-341.

Abstract

In neuropsychiatry, animal studies demonstrating causal effects of environmental manipulations relevant to human aetiology on behaviours relevant to human psychopathologies are valuable. Such valid models can improve understanding of aetio-pathophysiology and preclinical discovery and development of new treatments. In depression, specific uncontrollable stressful life events are major aetiological factors, and subsequent generalized increases in fearfulness, helplessness and fatigue are core symptoms or features. Here we exposed adult male C57BL/6 mice to 15-day psychosocial stress with loss of social control but minimal physical wounding. One cohort was assessed in a 3-day test paradigm of motor activity, fear conditioning and 2-way avoid-escape behaviour on days 16-18, and a second cohort was assessed in a treadmill fatigue paradigm on days 19 and 29, followed by the 3-day paradigm on days 30-32. All tests used a physical aversive stimulus, namely mild, brief electroshocks. Socially stressed mice displayed decreased motor activity, increased fear acquisition, decreased 2-way avoid-escape responding (increased helplessness) and increased fatigue. They also displayed increased plasma TNF and spleen hypertrophy, and adrenal hypertrophy without hyper-corticoidism. In a third cohort, psychosocial stress effects on brain gene expression were assessed using next generation sequencing. Gene expression was altered in pathways of inflammation and G-protein coupled receptors in prefrontal cortex and amygdala; in the latter, expression of genes important in dopamine function were de-regulated including down-regulated Drd2, Adora2a and Darpp-32. This model can be applied to identify targets for treating psychopathologies such as helplessness or fatigue, and to screen compounds/biologics developed to act at these targets.

Abstract

In neuropsychiatry, animal studies demonstrating causal effects of environmental manipulations relevant to human aetiology on behaviours relevant to human psychopathologies are valuable. Such valid models can improve understanding of aetio-pathophysiology and preclinical discovery and development of new treatments. In depression, specific uncontrollable stressful life events are major aetiological factors, and subsequent generalized increases in fearfulness, helplessness and fatigue are core symptoms or features. Here we exposed adult male C57BL/6 mice to 15-day psychosocial stress with loss of social control but minimal physical wounding. One cohort was assessed in a 3-day test paradigm of motor activity, fear conditioning and 2-way avoid-escape behaviour on days 16-18, and a second cohort was assessed in a treadmill fatigue paradigm on days 19 and 29, followed by the 3-day paradigm on days 30-32. All tests used a physical aversive stimulus, namely mild, brief electroshocks. Socially stressed mice displayed decreased motor activity, increased fear acquisition, decreased 2-way avoid-escape responding (increased helplessness) and increased fatigue. They also displayed increased plasma TNF and spleen hypertrophy, and adrenal hypertrophy without hyper-corticoidism. In a third cohort, psychosocial stress effects on brain gene expression were assessed using next generation sequencing. Gene expression was altered in pathways of inflammation and G-protein coupled receptors in prefrontal cortex and amygdala; in the latter, expression of genes important in dopamine function were de-regulated including down-regulated Drd2, Adora2a and Darpp-32. This model can be applied to identify targets for treating psychopathologies such as helplessness or fatigue, and to screen compounds/biologics developed to act at these targets.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:October 2014
Deposited On:16 Jan 2015 15:29
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 10:22
Publisher:Pergamon
ISSN:0028-3908
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.05.039
PubMed ID:24907589

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