In the brain, the neuropeptide cholecystokinin (CCK) appears to be involved in the mediation of stress responses. Here we provide new evidence that mild stress induces long-term changes in CCK-like immunoreactivity (CCK-LI) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The changes in CCK-LI show a biphasic pattern, with a decrease 20 min after and an increase 8 h after mild stress. These changes seem to be region specific. Measurement of CCK mRNA in prefrontal cortex neurons 4 or 8 h after the stress stimulus did not reveal changes in mRNA levels, suggesting that afferent CCK-containing neuron terminals may be more affected than local cortical CCK-ergic neurons. Furthermore, treatment with the glutamate NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine, led to more pronounced decreases in CCK-LI observed within 20 min after mild stress and counteracted the stress induced increase in cortical CCK-LI levels observed at 8 h. Implantation of a microdialysis probe in the PFC affected the response to mild stress, with no significant decrease in the CCK-LI level 20 min after, and attenuated reactivity to stress 8 h after the saline injection. Our results indicate that a mild stressful stimulus such as an intraperitoneal saline injection may have long-lasting effects on CCK-ergic transmission in the PFC. The use of microdialysis to study stress induced in vivo CCK-LI release in awake animals may, however, be significantly compromised by the impact of the microdialysis probe implantation on CCK-ergic mechanisms in the PFC. In addition, we hypothesize that subanesthetic doses of the psychotomimetic drug ketamine interfere with CCK-ergic mechanisms in the PFC during stress.
Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: Jul 27, 2001
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