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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The role of the anterodorsal thalami nuclei in the regulation of adrenal medullary function, beta-adrenergic cardiac receptors and anxiety responses in maternally deprived rats under stressful conditions.

Maternal separation can interfere with growth and development of the brain and represents a significant risk factor for adult psychopathology. In rodents, prolonged separation from the mother affects the behavioral and endocrine responses to stress for the lifetime of the animal. Limbic structures such as the anterodorsal thalamic nuclei (ADTN) play an important role in the control of neuroendocrine and sympathetic-adrenal function. In view of these findings we hypothesized that the function of the ADTN may be affected in an animal model of maternal deprivation. To test this hypothesis female rats were isolated 4.5 h daily, during the first 3 weeks of life and tested as adults. We evaluated plasma epinephrine (E) and norepinephrine (NE), cardiac adrenoreceptors and anxiety responses after maternal deprivation and variable chronic stress (VCS) in ADTN-lesioned rats. Thirty days after ADTN lesion, in non-maternally deprived rats basal plasma NE concentration was greater and cardiac beta-adrenoreceptor density was lower than that in the sham-lesioned group. Maternal deprivation induced a significant increase in basal plasma NE concentration, which was greater in lesioned rats, and cardiac beta-adrenoreceptor density was decreased in lesioned rats. After VCS plasma catecholamine concentration was much greater in non-maternally deprived rats than in maternally-deprived rats; cardiac beta-adrenoreceptor density was decreased by VCS in both maternally-deprived and non-deprived rats, but more so in non-deprived rats, and further decreased by the ADTN lesion. In the plus maze test, the number of open arm entries was greater in the maternally deprived and in the stressed rats. Thus, sympathetic-adrenal medullary activation produced by VCS was much greater in non-deprived rats, and was linked to a down regulation of myocardial beta-adrenoceptors. The ADTN are not responsible for the reduced catecholamine responses to stress in maternally-deprived rats. Maternal deprivation or chronic stress also induced a long term anxiolytic effect, which was also not affected by ADTN lesion.[1]


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