We investigated the effects of psychological stress, lacking direct physical stimulus, on the release of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) and the dorsal raphe nuclei (DRN) in the rat using the in vivo microdialysis technique with dual probes, one in each region of the same animals. Psychological stress was employed using the communication box paradigm. Psychological stress for 1 h significantly increased dialysate 5-HT levels in the DRN and the BLA. Psychological stress-induced 5-HT release in the BLA was significantly greater than those in the DRN, indicating that modifications of the serotonergic neurons in the BLA are more sensitive to psychological stress than are those of the DRN. Psychological stress also increased DA release in the BLA, while the dialysate DA levels in the DRN were unchanged. These results suggest that psychological stress preferentially activates ascending serotonergic neurons from the DRN to the BLA but not those of dopaminergic neurons. Furthermore, our findings indicate that both the serotonergic neurons and the dopaminergic neurons in the BLA may have a distinct role to play in the neuronal responses to psychological stress.
Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: May 18, 2001
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