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Anatomical and functional evidence for a stress-responsive, monoamine-accumulating area in the dorsomedial hypothalamus of adult rat brain

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Colin Ingram


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The dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) plays an important role in relaying information to neural pathways mediating neuroendocrine, autonomic, and behavioral responses to stress. Evidence suggests that the DMH is a structurally and functionally diverse integrative structure that contributes to both facilitation and inhibition of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, depending on the nature of the stimulus and the specific neural circuits involved. Previous studies have determined that stress or stress-related stimuli elevate tissue concentrations of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT), 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), dopamine, and noradrenaline selectively within the DMH. In order to determine the specific region of the rat DMH involved, we used high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection to measure tissue concentrations of 5-HT, 5-HIAA, dopamine, and noradrenaline within five different subregions of the DMH in adult female Lewis and Fischer rats immediately or 4 h following a 30-min period of restraint stress. Compared to unrestrained control rats, restrained rats had elevated concentrations of 5-HT, 5-HIAA, dopamine, and noradrenaline immediately after a 30-min period of restraint and had elevated concentrations of 5-HT 4 h following the onset of a 30-min period of restraint stress. These effects were confined to a specific region that included medial portions of the dorsal hypothalamic area and dorsal ependymal, subependymal, and neuronal components of the periventricular nucleus. Furthermore, these effects were observed in Lewis rats, but not Fischer rats, two closely related rat strains with well-documented differences in neurochemical, neuroendocrine, autonomic, and behavioral responses to stress. These data provide support for the existence of a stress-responsive, amine-accumulating area in the DMH that may play an important role in the differential stress responsiveness of Lewis and Fischer rats.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ingram CD; Lowry CA; Plant A; Shanks N; Lightman SL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Hormones and Behavior

Year: 2003

Volume: 43

Issue: 1

Pages: 254-262

ISSN (print): 0018-506X

ISSN (electronic): 1095-6867

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/S0018-506X(02)00009-0

PubMed id: 12614657


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