Defensive Behavior and Hippocampal Cell Proliferation: Differential Modulation by Naltrexone During Stress


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Abstract

The present study investigated the role of endogenous opioids in the expression of defensive behaviors (DBs) and the suppression of cell proliferation (CP) in the dentate gyrus (DG) induced by exposure to predator odor, trimethyl thiazoline (TMT). Adult male rats were injected with either naltrexone (an opioid antagonist, 5 mg/kg) or saline 30 min before exposure to either TMT or a control odor. Behavior was scored for the first 15 min of odor exposure. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU, 200 mg/kg) was then injected, and the rats were perfused 1 hr later. Exposure to TMT increased the expression of DBs and suppressed the number of proliferating cells in the DG. Pretreatment with naltrexone attenuated the effects of TMT on DB expression but did not attenuate the effects of TMT on CP. In addition, naltrexone administration suppressed CP in the absence of TMT. These results demonstrate a dissociation between DBs and regulation of CP in the DG.

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