The amplitude of the acoustic startle reflex can be modulated by exposure to aversive stimuli or other conditions which evoke a state of fear. The neurotransmitters involved in this modulation are currently being investigated. Unilateral local infusion of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH; 0, 10, 20, 40 and 80 ng) into the nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis (PnC), an obligatory synapse in the acoustic startle reflex, significantly elevated startle amplitude in a dose-dependent manner. The facilitation of startle began immediately following infusion, reached asymptote approximately 20-25 min later, and persisted throughout the remaining 60 min test session. This CRH-enhanced startle effect was blocked by infusion of the CRH antagonist, alpha-helical CRH9-41, immediately prior to CRH infusion. These results support an involvement of CRH at the level of the PnC in modulating the acoustic startle reflex.
- Corticotropin releasing hormone
- Nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology