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The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology

Induction of the plasticity-associated immediate early gene Arc by stress and hallucinogens: role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.


PMID 22404904

Abstract

Exposure to stress and hallucinogens in adulthood evokes persistent alterations in neurocircuitry and emotional behaviour. The structural and functional changes induced by stress and hallucinogen exposure are thought to involve transcriptional alterations in specific effector immediate early genes. The immediate early gene, activity regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein (Arc), is important for both activity and experience dependent plasticity. We sought to examine whether trophic factor signalling through brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) contributes to the neocortical regulation of Arc mRNA in response to distinct stimuli such as immobilization stress and the hallucinogen 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI). Acute exposure to either immobilization stress or DOI induced Arc mRNA levels within the neocortex. BDNF infusion into the neocortex led to a robust up-regulation of local Arc transcript expression. Further, baseline Arc mRNA expression in the neocortex was significantly decreased in inducible BDNF knockout mice with an adult-onset, forebrain specific BDNF loss. The induction of Arc mRNA levels in response to both acute immobilization stress or a single administration of DOI was significantly attenuated in the inducible BDNF knockout mice. Taken together, our results implicate trophic factor signalling through BDNF in the regulation of cortical Arc mRNA expression, both under baseline conditions and following stress and hallucinogen exposure. These findings suggest the possibility that the regulation of Arc expression via BDNF provides a molecular substrate for the structural and synaptic plasticity observed following stimuli such as stress and hallucinogens.

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