College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Glutamate-mediated neuroplasticity in a limbic input to the hypothalamus

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2006

Publication Title

Stress

ISSN

1025-3890

Volume

9

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

Emotionally-salient stressors are processed by cortical and limbic circuits that provide important regulatory input to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. However, exposure to chronic or severe stress may cause disregulation of the axis and a variety of physiological and psychological symptoms. The mechanisms that underlie stress-induced alterations in HPA axis function are not well characterized, but one possibility is that severe stress causes plastic changes in limbic inputs to the hypothalamus. We examined plasticity within the bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BNST) and the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) with a stimulating electrode in the BNST and a recording electrode in the PVN. High-frequency BNST stimulation produced long-lasting suppression of evoked field potentials recorded from the PVN, and this effect was blocked by administration of MK-801. Accordingly, rapid glutamate-mediated neuroplasticity in the BNST to PVN neurocircuitry may contribute to plasticity in limbic regulation of the HPA axis.

DOI

10.1080/10253890600556481

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