Molecular medicine reports

Sigma-1 receptor activation ameliorates anxiety-like behavior through NR2A-CREB-BDNF signaling pathway in a rat model submitted to single-prolonged stress.

PMID 28791385


Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that the σ-1 receptor (σ‑1R) possesses neuroprotective effects and is a potential novel therapeutic target for certain psychiatric diseases, including post‑traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) accompanied with anxiety disorder. It has been reported that σ‑1R agonist treatment could be modulated by the brain‑derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling pathway. However, it remains unclear whether BDNF and its upstream regulator are mechanistically involved in the therapeutic effect of σ‑1R in PTSD. To address this question, rats were subjected to a single‑prolonged stress (SPS) paradigm and σ‑1R agonist administration. Open‑field and elevated plus maze tests were implemented to evaluate the effect of σ‑1R activation on the improvement of anxiety‑like behaviors. Furthermore, the expression levels of BDNF, phosphorylated cAMP responsive element‑binding protein (CREB) and glutamate receptor ionotropic N‑methyl D‑aspartate 2A (NMDAR2A) were investigated in the hippocampi of rats. It was revealed that the downregulation of BDNF, phosphorylated CREB and NMDAR2A induced by SPS were reversed by σ‑1R activation. Collectively, the results of the present study suggest that the NMDAR2A/CREB/BDNF signaling pathway is involved in the activation of σ‑1R resulting in therapeutic effects for PTSD.

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