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Susceptibility and Resilience to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-like Behaviors in Inbred Mice.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The limited neurobiological understanding of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been partially attributed to the need for improved animal models. Stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL) in rodents recapitulates many PTSD-associated behaviors, including stress-susceptible and stress-resilient subgroups in outbred rats. Identification of subgroups requires additional behavioral phenotyping, a confound to mechanistic studies. METHODS:We employed a SEFL paradigm in inbred male and female C57BL/6 mice that combines acute stress with fear conditioning to precipitate traumatic-like memories. Extinction and long-term retention of extinction were examined after SEFL. Further characterization of SEFL effects on male mice was performed with additional behavioral tests, determination of regional activation by Fos immunofluorescence, and RNA sequencing of the basolateral amygdala. RESULTS:Stressed animals displayed persistently elevated freezing during extinction. While more uniform in females, SEFL produced male subgroups with differential susceptibility that were identified without posttraining phenotyping. Additional phenotyping of male mice revealed PTSD-associated behaviors, including extinction-resistant fear memory, hyperarousal, generalization, and dysregulated corticosterone in stress-susceptible male mice. Altered Fos activation was also seen in the infralimbic cortex and basolateral amygdala of stress-susceptible male mice after remote memory retrieval. Key behavioral outcomes, including susceptibility, were replicated by two independent laboratories. RNA sequencing of the basolateral amygdala revealed transcriptional divergence between the male subgroups, including genes with reported polymorphic association to patients with PTSD. CONCLUSIONS:This SEFL model provides a tool for development of PTSD therapeutics that is compatible with the growing number of mouse-specific resources. Furthermore, use of an inbred strain allows for investigation into epigenetic mechanisms that are expected to critically regulate susceptibility and resilience.

SUBMITTER: Sillivan SE 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5683920 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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