Accumulating evidence suggests that dysregulation of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) may play a role in depression and that this dysregulation may be corrected by antidepressant drug treatment. Here, we examined whether chronic mild stress (CMS) alters CRF mRNA levels in stress-related brain areas including the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and the central nucleus of amygdala (CeA), and whether repeated tianeptine treatment can attenuate CMS-induced changes in CRF mRNA levels. Male rats were exposed to CMS for 19 days, and control animals were subjected to brief handling. Both groups were injected daily with tianeptine or saline. CMS significantly increased CRF mRNA levels in the dorsal BNST (dBNST), but not in other areas. Repeated tianeptine treatment prevented the CMS-induced increase in CRF mRNA levels in the dBNST, and reduced CRF mRNA levels in dBNST in non-stressed controls. Moreover, repeated tianeptine treatment significantly decreased CRF mRNA levels in the ventral BNST and CeA of non-stressed controls as well as CMS-exposed rats. These results show that CMS induces a rather selective increase of CRF mRNA in the dBNST. In addition, these results suggest that repeated tianeptine treatment diminishes the basal activity of CRF neurons and reduces their sensitivity to stress.
- Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis
- Corticotropin-releasing factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience