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Abstract / Description of output
We recently reported that male, but not female, offspring born to mothers exposed to social stress during late gestation show heightened anxiety-type behaviour in adulthood. The amygdala organises anxious behaviour, which involves actions of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH gene expression and/or its release are increased in the amygdala in prenatally stressed (PNS) rats. CRH type 1 receptor (CRH-R1) mediates actions of CRH and urocortin I to promote anxiety-like behaviour, whereas the CRH type 2 receptor (CRH-R2) may mediate anxiolytic actions, through actions of urocortins 2 and 3. Here, using quantitative in situ hybridisation, we investigated whether altered CRH receptor mRNA expression in the amygdaloid nuclei may explain the sex differences in anxiety behaviour in adult male and female PNS rats. CRH-R1 mRNA expression was significantly greater in the central amygdala and basolateral amygdala (BLA) in male PNS rats compared with controls, with no change in the basomedial amygdala (BMA) or medial amygdala (MeA). In PNS females, CRH-R1 mRNA expression was greater than controls only in the MeA. Conversely, CRH-R2 mRNA expression was significantly lower in the BMA of male PNS rats compared with controls, but greater in female PNS rats, with no change in the BLA or MeA in either sex. The ratio of CRH-R1:CRH-R2 mRNA in the amygdaloid nuclei was generally increased in PNS males, but not in the PNS females. In conclusion, sex differences in anxiety-type behaviour in PNS rats may be explained by differential mRNA expression for CRH-R1 (pro-anxiogenic) and CRH-R2 (pro-anxiolytic) in the amygdaloid complex.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress|
|Early online date||23 Aug 2011|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
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