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Neural circuits underpinning social stress: implications for alterations in prenatally stressed animals


Social stress is the physiological and psychological outcome after social conflicts. In rats, previous studies have showed that the dorsal premammillary nucleus of the hypothalamus (PMD) is crucial for organizing the defensive behaviors expressed during social threats (Motta et al., 2009). Preliminary data indicates that PMD lesions prevents corticosterone release under a dominant rat attack, while CRF RNA is increased in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH) and decreased in CeA. A direct link between PMD and all known stress circuits is not described, but a possible pathway in which PMD could influence these circuits could be through the dorsal part of periaqueductal gray matter that projects to adjacents gabaergic areas to PVH. These regions project to PVH and could be changed in PMD lesioned animals. More experiments are required to better understand the relationship between PMD and PVH. Also, social stress is very important for social animals, leading to important physiological alterations that have being regarded as a depression model in rodents. Once prenatally stressed animals show a variety of behavioral alterations, we want to investigate if these animals are more susceptive to develop depression responses. (AU)

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