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Neural substrates involved with the helplessness behavior development in rats: possible involvement of nitric oxide

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Author(s):
Vinicius Antonio Hiroaki Sato
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Sâmia Regiane Lourenço Joca; Silvana Chiavegatto; Ricardo Luiz Nunes de Souza; Helio Zangrossi Junior
Advisor: Sâmia Regiane Lourenço Joca
Abstract

Recently, nitric oxide (NO) has been related with the neurobiology of depression. The NO synthase (NOS) inhibition induces antidepressant-like effects in animal models and there is an increase in the NOS expression in limbic structures of depressed patients or in stress exposed animals. Besides, it is well known that stressful events causes an increase in limbic structures neuronal activation and that antidepressant treatment as well as NOS inhibition attenuates this effect. However, it is still unknown how the limbic nitrergic system is related with depression-related behaviors. Then, the aim of this work is to test the hypothesis that the helplessness behavior development (a depression-related behavior) in rats would be induced by an increased activity of nNOS-containing neurons in structures related with the neurobiology of stress responses. Furthermore, the antidepressant-like effect induced by antidepressants treatment in this model would share a final effect, decreasing the activation of such neurons, and decreasing the levels of NO in these structures. For this aim, male rats were submitted to the learned helplessness model and treated with antidepressants. After the test, immunohistochemistry assay were performed, with double labeling for c-Fos (Fos-IR; neuronal activity marker) and nNOS (nNOS-IR). The repeated treatment with desipramine (DES, 25 mg/kg but not 12,5mg/kg), fluoxetine (FXT, 15 mg/Kg, but not 30 mg/Kg) and imipramina (IMI, 15 mg/KG) induced antidepressant-like effects in the learned helplessness test (LH). The acute treatment with IMI, but not with DES or FXT, induced the same effect. The repeated treatment with DES, FXT or IMI also increased the number of intertrial crossings in the LH, but not the locomotor activity score on the open field score. The repeated treatment with DES decreased the number of Fos-IR into the basolateral amygdala (BlAm), lateral amygdala (Lam), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), CA1 and CA3 regions of the dorsal hippocampus (dHPC), and CA3 region of the ventral hippocampus (vHPC). The acute treatment with DES increased the Fos-IR into the central amygdale (CeAm), medial amygdala (MeAm), and CA1 and CA3 regions of the dHPC. The repeated treatment with FXT decreases the number of Fos-IR into the BlAm and Lam, while the acute treatment increases the Fos-IR into the CeAm. The repeated treatment with IMI increased the nNOS-IR into the MeAm and the double- labeled cells into the bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BST); and decreased the Fos-IR into the CA1 region of the dHPC and into the parvocellular region of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. Finally, positive correlations between the number of Fos-IR and the number of failures in escaping or avoiding the foot shocks on the LH were found into the BlAm, Lam, CA1 and CA3 of the dHPC, and CA3 of the vHPC, i.e., with more activated cells into these structures mentioned, more foot shocks the rats received. These results are (partially) corroborated with previous scientific papers, showing the analyzed structures participation in the learned helplessness behavior as well as in the antidepressant effect of antidepressant administration. Within this context, the BST would work as a relay center, processing the information coming from the mPFC, HPC and amygdaloid nuclei, and sending the output to the PVN, modulating the HPA axis. This work open some questions about the identification of specific nNOS-containing neuronal subpopulations, aiming to clarify their role in the stress response, and searching for the formulation of a more complete scenario of the nitrergic system participation in this complex emotion-regulating neurocircuit (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/13951-8 - Neural substrates involved with the helpless behavior development in rats: possible involvement of nitric oxide
Grantee:Vinicius Antonio Hiroaki Sato
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate