Activation of corticotropin releasing factor-containing neurons in the rat central amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis following exposure to two different anxiogenic stressors

Ryan K. Butler, Elisabeth M. Oliver, Amanda C. Sharko, Jeffrey Parilla-Carrero, Kris F. Kaigler, Jim R. Fadel, Marlene A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rats exposed to the odor of a predator or to the elevated plus maze (EPM) express unique unconditioned fear behaviors. The extended amygdala has previously been demonstrated to mediate the response to both predator odor and the EPM. We seek to determine if divergent amygdalar microcircuits are associated with the different behavioral responses. The current experiments compared activation of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-containing neuronal populations in the central amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) of rats exposed to either the EPM (5 min) versus home cage controls, or predator (ferret) odor versus butyric acid, or no odor (30 min). Sections of the brains were prepared for dual-labeled immunohistochemistry and counts of c-Fos co-localized with CRF were made in the centrolateral and centromedial amygdala (CLA and CMA) as well as the dorsolateral (dl), dorsomedial (dm), and ventral (v) BNST. Ferret odor-exposed rats displayed an increase in duration and a decrease in latency of defensive burying versus control rats. Exposure to both predator stress and EPM induced neuronal activation in the BNST, but not the central amygdala, and similar levels of neuronal activation were seen in both the high and low anxiety groups in the BNST after EPM exposure. Dual-labeled immunohistochemistry showed a significant increase in the percentage of CRF/c-Fos co-localization in the vBNST of ferret odor-exposed rats compared to control and butyric acid-exposed groups as well as EPM-exposed rats compared to home cage controls. In addition, an increase in the percentage of CRF-containing neurons co-localized with c-Fos was observed in the dmBNST after EPM exposure. No changes in co-localization of CRF with c-Fos was observed with these treatments in either the CLA or CMA. These results suggest that predator odor and EPM exposure activates CRF neurons in the BNST to a much greater extent than CRF neurons of the central amygdala, and indicates unconditioned anxiogenic stimuli may activate unique anatomical circuits in the extended amygdala.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume304
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Septal Nuclei
Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
Neurons
Ferrets
Amygdala
Butyric Acid
Immunohistochemistry
Central Amygdaloid Nucleus
Odorants
Fear
Anxiety
Brain
Population

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • BNST
  • CRF
  • EPM
  • Predator odor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Activation of corticotropin releasing factor-containing neurons in the rat central amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis following exposure to two different anxiogenic stressors. / Butler, Ryan K.; Oliver, Elisabeth M.; Sharko, Amanda C.; Parilla-Carrero, Jeffrey; Kaigler, Kris F.; Fadel, Jim R.; Wilson, Marlene A.

In: Behavioural Brain Research, Vol. 304, 01.05.2016, p. 92-101.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Butler, Ryan K. ; Oliver, Elisabeth M. ; Sharko, Amanda C. ; Parilla-Carrero, Jeffrey ; Kaigler, Kris F. ; Fadel, Jim R. ; Wilson, Marlene A. / Activation of corticotropin releasing factor-containing neurons in the rat central amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis following exposure to two different anxiogenic stressors. In: Behavioural Brain Research. 2016 ; Vol. 304. pp. 92-101.
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