Increased anxiety-like behaviors, but blunted cortisol stress response after neonatal hippocampal lesions in monkeys.
ABSTRACT: The hippocampus is most notably known for its role in cognition and spatial memory; however it also plays an essential role in emotional behaviors and neuroendocrine responses. The current study investigated the long-term effects of neonatal hippocampal lesions (Neo-Hibo) on emotional and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning. During infancy, unlike controls, Neo-Hibo monkeys exhibited enhanced expression of emotional behaviors (e.g. freezing, anxiety-like, and self-directed behaviors) when exposed to a human intruder (HI task). Upon reaching adulthood, they exhibited reduced freezing and hostility, but increased anxiety-like and self-directed behaviors during the HI task. Neo-Hibo monkeys behaved as if they systematically over-rated the risk inherent in the HI task, which supports Gray and McNaughton's septo-hippocampal theory of anxiety. Also, in adulthood, the increased levels of anxiety-like behaviors in Neo-Hibo monkeys were associated with a blunted cortisol response to the HI task. Examination of basal HPA axis function revealed that Neo-Hibo monkeys exhibited the typical diurnal cortisol decline throughout the day, but had lower cortisol concentrations in the morning as compared to controls. Taken together these data suggest that an intact hippocampus during development plays a larger role beyond that of inhibitory/negative feedback regulation of the HPA axis stress-activation, and may be critical for HPA axis basal functioning as well as for the stress response. The behavioral and neuroendocrine changes demonstrated in the current study are reminiscent of those seen in human or nonhuman primates with adult-onset hippocampal damage, demonstrating little functional compensation following early hippocampal damage.
Project description:The current study examined the long-term effects of neonatal amygdala lesions on emotional and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity to an acute stressor in rhesus monkeys. Rhesus monkeys received either bilateral MRI-guided ibotenic acid amygdala (Neo-Aibo; n=6) or sham (Neo-C; n=7) lesions between 7 and 14 days of age. Emotional reactivity was assessed using the Human Intruder paradigm at 2 months, 4.5 months, and 6-8 years of age, whereas stress neuroendocrine response was only assessed in adulthood (6-8 years). The modulation of defensive and emotional behaviors based on the gaze direction of the intruder emerged between 2 and 4 months of age in surrogate-peer reared sham-operated infant monkeys, as already shown for mother-reared infants. Although neonatal amygdala lesions did not impair the ability to exhibit defensive and emotional behaviors, it altered the modulation of these responses based on the intruder's gaze direction. The changes in emotional reactivity after neonatal amygdala lesions emerged in infancy and persisted throughout adulthood when they were associated with a reduction of basal cortisol levels and a blunted cortisol response to the stressor. These changes are reminiscent of those found after adult-onset amygdala lesions, demonstrating little functional compensation following early amygdala damage.
Project description:Gene-environment (GxE) interactions contribute to the development of many neuropsychiatric disorders. Tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH2) synthesizes neuronal serotonin and is closely related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, while early life experience is a critical environmental factor programming the HPA axis response to stress. This retrospective study investigated GxE interaction at the TPH2 locus in rhesus monkeys. Twenty-eight adult, male rhesus monkeys of Indian origin, either mother-reared or peer-reared as infants, were involved in this study. These monkeys have been previously genotyped for the functional A2051C polymorphism in rhTPH2, and had been physiologically and behaviorally characterized. rhTPH2 A2051C exerted a significant main effect (CC>AA&AC) on the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) level of 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid (5-HIAA; F((1,14))=6.42, p=0.024), plasma cortisol level in the morning (F((1,18))=14.63, p=0.002) and cortisol response to ACTH challenge (F((1,17))=6.87, p=0.018), while the rearing experience showed a significant main effect (PR>MR) on CSF CRH (F((1,20))=11.66, p=0.003) and cage shaking behavior (F((1,27))=4.45, p=0.045). The effects of rhTPH2 A2051C on the afternoon cortisol level, plasma ACTH level, dexamethasone suppression of urinary cortisol excretion, and aggression were dependent upon the rearing experience. These results were not confounded by the functional C77G polymorphism in the mu-opioid receptor (MOR). The present study supports the hypothesis that rearing experience and rhTPH2 A2051C interact to influence central 5-HT metabolism, HPA axis function, and aggressive behaviors. Our findings strengthen the involvement of G x E interactions at the loci of serotonergic genes and the utility of the nonhuman primate to model G x E interactions in the development of human neuropsychiatric diseases.
Project description:Recent human studies have indicated that adverse parenting experiences during childhood and adolescence are associated with adulthood hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis hypoactivity. Chronic HPA axis hypoactivity inhibits hippocampal gray matter (GM) development, as shown by animal studies. However, associations among adverse parenting experiences during childhood and adolescence, HPA axis activity, and brain development, particularly hippocampal development, are insufficiently investigated in humans. In this voxel-based structural magnetic resonance imaging study, using a cross-sectional design, we examined the associations among the scores of parental bonding instrument (PBI; a self-report scale to rate the attitudes of parents during the first 16 years), cortisol response determined by the dexamethasone/corticotropin-releasing hormone test, and regional or total hippocampal GM volume in forty healthy young adults with the following features: aged between 18 and 35 years, no cortisol hypersecretion in response to the dexamethasone test, no history of traumatic events, or no past or current conditions of significant medical illness or neuropsychiatric disorders. As a result, parental overprotection scores significantly negatively correlated with cortisol response. Additionally, a significant positive association was found between cortisol response and total or regional hippocampal GM volume. No significant association was observed between PBI scores and total or regional hippocampal GM volume. In conclusion, statistical associations were found between parental overprotection during childhood and adolescence and adulthood HPA axis hypoactivity, and between HPA axis hypoactivity and hippocampal GM volume reduction in healthy young adults, but no significant relationship was observed between any PBI scores and adulthood hippocampal GM volume.
Project description:Sleep plays a crucial role in cognitive processes. Sleep and wake memory consolidation seem to be regulated by glucocorticoids, pointing out the potential role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in the relationship between sleep quality and cognitive abilities. Trait anxiety is another factor that is likely to moderate the relationship between sleep and cognition, because poorer sleep quality and subtle HPA axis abnormalities have been reported in people with high trait anxiety. The current study aimed to explore whether HPA axis activity or trait anxiety moderate the relationship between sleep quality and cognitive abilities in healthy individuals. We studied 203 healthy individuals. We measured verbal and visual memory, working memory, processing speed, attention and executive function. Sleep quality was assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Trait anxiety was assessed with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. HPA axis measures included the cortisol awakening response (CAR), diurnal cortisol slope and cortisol levels during the day. Multiple linear regression analyses explored the relationship between sleep quality and cognition and tested potential moderating effects by HPA axis measures and trait anxiety. Poor sleep quality was associated with poorer performance in memory, processing speed and executive function tasks. In people with poorer sleep quality, a blunted CAR was associated with poorer verbal and visual memory and executive functions, and higher cortisol levels during the day were associated with poorer processing speed. Trait anxiety was a moderator of visual memory and executive functioning. These results suggest that subtle abnormalities in the HPA axis and higher trait anxiety contribute to the relationship between lower sleep quality and poorer cognitive functioning in healthy individuals.
Project description:Accumulating studies have proved that perinatal exposure to environmental dose causes long-term potentiation in anxiety/depression-related behaviors in rats. Hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is one of the most consistent biological findings in anxiety- and depression-related disorders. The HPA axis is reported to be susceptible to developmental reprogramming. The present study focused on HPA reactivity in postnatal day (PND) 80 male rats exposed perinatally to environmental-dose BPA. When female breeders were orally administered 2 μg/(kg.day) BPA from gestation day 10 to lactation day 7, their offspring (PND 80 BPA-exposed rats) showed obvious anxiety/depression-like behaviors. Notably, significant increase in serum corticosterone and adrenocorticotropin, and corticotropin-releasing hormone mRNA were detected in BPA-exposed rats before or after the mild stressor. Additionally, the level of glucocorticoid receptor mRNA in the hippocampus, but not the hypothalamus, was decreased in BPA-exposed rats. The levels of hippocampal mineralocorticoid receptor mRNA, neuronal nitric oxide synthase and phosphorylated cAMP response element binding protein were increased in BPA-exposed rats. In addition, the testosterone level was in BPA-exposed rats. The results indicate that reprogramming-induced hyperactivity of the HPA axis is an important link between perinatal BPA exposure and persistent potentiation in anxiety and depression.
Project description:The prefrontal cortex (PFC) has been well known for its role in higher order cognition, affect regulation and social reasoning. Although the precise underpinnings have not been sufficiently described, increasing evidence also supports a prefrontal involvement in the regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Here we investigate the PFC's role in HPA axis regulation during a psychosocial stress exposure in 14 healthy humans. Regional brain metabolism was assessed using positron emission tomography (PET) and injection of fluoro-18-deoxyglucose (FDG). Depending on the exact location within the PFC, increased glucose metabolic rate was associated with lower or higher salivary cortisol concentration in response to a psychosocial stress condition. Metabolic glucose rate in the rostral medial PFC (mPFC) (Brodman area (BA) 9 and BA 10) was negatively associated with stress-induced salivary cortisol increases. Furthermore, metabolic glucose rate in these regions was inversely coupled with changes in glucose metabolic rate in other areas, known to be involved in HPA axis regulation such as the amygdala/hippocampal region. In contrast, metabolic glucose rate in areas more lateral to the mPFC was positively associated with saliva cortisol. Subjective ratings on task stressfulness, task controllability and self-reported dispositional mood states also showed positive and negative associations with the glucose metabolic rate in prefrontal regions. These findings suggest that in humans, the PFC is activated in response to psychosocial stress and distinct prefrontal metabolic glucose patterns are linked to endocrine stress measures as well as subjective ratings on task stressfulness, controllability as well as dispositional mood states.
Project description:Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common disorder in older adults, which has been linked to hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in this age group. The authors examined whether treatment of GAD in older adults with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) corrects this HPA axis hyperactivity.The authors examined adults aged 60 years and older with GAD in a 12-week randomized controlled trial comparing the SSRI escitalopram with placebo. The authors collected salivary cortisol at six daily time points for 2 consecutive days to assess peak and total (area under the curve) cortisol, both at baseline and posttreatment.Compared with placebo-treated patients, SSRI-treated patients had a significantly greater reduction in both peak and total cortisol. This reduction in cortisol was limited to patients with elevated (above the median) baseline cortisol, in whom SSRI-treated patients showed substantially greater reduction in cortisol than did placebo-treated patients. Reductions in cortisol were associated with improvements in anxiety. Additionally, genetic variability at the serotonin transporter promoter predicted cortisol changes.SSRI treatment of GAD in older adults reduces HPA axis hyperactivity. Further research should determine whether these treatment-attributable changes are sustained and beneficial.
Project description:Whether methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) can improve the basal function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is suppressed by long-term heroin consumption, is a matter of debate. The stress state and depression and anxiety symptoms may affect the basal activity of the HPA axis in MMT patients. However, the effect of psychological factors on HPA activity was not simultaneously controlled in previous studies. This study investigated differences in HPA basal activity between MMT patients and controls using psychological variables as covariates. The participants included 52 MMT patients and 41 age-matched, non-heroin-dependent controls. Psychological states were self-reported with the Perceived Stress Scale, Self-Rating Depression Scale and Self-Rating Anxiety Scale. The hair cortisol level was adopted as a biomarker of HPA basal activity and was determined with liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. The results revealed that MMT patients had significantly higher hair cortisol levels than the controls (p<0.05), but the difference was not significant (p>0.05) when the perceived stress, depression and anxiety scores were used as covariates. We concluded that patients with long-term MMT showed higher basal activity of the HPA axis. The high chronic stress state and increase in depression and anxiety symptoms may mask the suppression effect of methadone on the HPA activity.
Project description:Altered brain somatostatin functions recently appeared as key elements for the pathogenesis of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders. The hippocampus exerts an inhibitory feedback on stress but the mechanisms involved remain unclear. We investigated herein the role of hippocampal somatostatin receptor subtypes in both stress response and behavioral emotionality using C57BL/6, wild type and sst2 or sst4 knockout mice. Inhibitory effects of hippocampal infusions of somatostatin agonists on stress-induced hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) activity were tested by monitoring peripheral blood and local hippocampus corticosterone levels, the latter by using microdialysis. Anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects were determined in the elevated-plus maze, open field, forced swimming, and stress-sensitive beam walking tests. Hippocampal injections of somatostatin analogs and sst2 or sst4, but not sst1 or sst3 receptor agonists produced rapid and sustained inhibition of HPA axis. sst2 agonists selectively produced anxiolytic-like behaviors whereas both sst2 and sst4 agonists had antidepressant-like effects. Consistent with these findings, high corticosterone levels and anxiety were found in sst2KO mice and depressive-like behaviors observed in both sst2KO and sst4KO strains. Both hippocampal sst2 and sst4 receptors selectively inhibit stress-induced HPA axis activation but mediate anxiolytic and antidepressive effects through distinct mechanisms. Such results are to be accounted for in development of pathway-specific somatostatin receptor agents in the treatment of hypercortisolism (Cushing's disease) and stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders.
Project description:Determinants of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning are increasingly explored in population-based studies. However, functional tests measuring the negative feedback of the HPA axis cannot easily be implemented into large observational studies. Furthermore, high doses of dexamethasone often completely suppress the HPA axis in healthy persons. This study aimed to detect the effects of the health, lifestyle and sociodemographic factors, psychiatric problems and cognitive functions on the negative feedback of the HPA axis using a very low-dose (0.25 mg) dexamethasone suppression test (DST).We evaluated the associations of several determinants with the saliva cortisol concentrations after dexamethasone intake in a confounder-adjusted model also corrected for baseline saliva cortisol concentrations in the Rotterdam Study, a large population-based study (N = 1822). We found that female sex, low income, lack of exercise, instrumental disability and smoking were all independently associated with stronger suppression of the HPA axis. Even though there were no linear associations between psychiatric measures and cortisol suppression, we found that depressive symptoms and anxiety disorders were more common in persons with non-suppression of cortisol. Conversely, psychotropic medication use was related to enhanced suppression of cortisol after DST. In this large study, we found that female gender, low socioeconomic status and poor health were all related to suppression of the HPA axis. Non-linear associations were detected between the suppression of the HPA axis and common psychiatric disorders in community-dwelling persons.