Intracranial self-stimulation and immobilization had different effects on neurite extension and the p38 MAPK pathway in PC12m3 cells

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Aim:In mammals, rewarding and aversive states are motivational drivers of behavioral expression. However, it is unclear whether such states affect neuronal functions at the level of individual neurons. In the present study, the neuronal effects of rewarding and aversive states were investigated in using PC12 mutant cells (PC12m3 cells) with low sensitivity to nerve growth factor.Main methods:The intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and immobilization (IMM) methods were used to create rewarding and aversive states, respectively, in rats. Furthermore, experiments involving voluntary running on a wheel and forced running on a rotating rod were used to evaluate the effects of behavioral excitement on neurons. Then, the effects of plasma samples collected from the animals on neurite extension were examined microscopically, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity was assessed using Western blotting.Key findings:Plasma samples from the ICSS and IMM rats facilitated neurite outgrowth to different degrees. However, their effects were not influenced by behavioral excitement. Furthermore, the plasma from the ICSS rats also induced upregulated p38 MAPK activity, whereas that from the IMM rats produced the same or slightly lower levels of MAPK activity to the control plasma.Significance:These findings indicate that rewarding and aversive states might cause morphological changes, such as neurite extension. As for the effects of these states on p38 MAPK activity, the former state might directly increase p38 MAPK activity, but the latter state might have no effect or cause a slight reduction in p38 MAPK activity.Graphical abstract

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