The present study determined simultaneously the behavioural, neuroendocrine and regional brain activity, using semi‐quantitative analysis of c‐fos mRNA induction, produced by 30 min of auditory stimulation at different white noise intensities (background 60 dB, 70, 80, 90 and 105 dBA), in rats. Only the highest noise intensities (90 and 105 dB) significantly increased corticosterone release after 30 min stimulation. Behaviourally, the 105 dB noise condition reliably reduced overall activity, and moderate noise intensities (70 and 80 dB) increased sleeping time. Three distinct patterns of c‐fos mRNA induction were observed. First, following exposure to the experimental cages, a wide pattern of brain activation was obtained in experimental animals irrespective of noise intensity presentation, compared to the naive rats. Second, a number of auditory structures (cochlear nuclei, superior olivary complex, nuclei of the lateral lemniscus, inferior colliculus and the medial division of the medial geniculate body) displayed a clear intensity‐dependent increase in c‐fos induction. Third, compared to all other conditions, the stressed rats (90 and 105 dB conditions) displayed significantly higher c‐fos induction in relatively few areas. Particularly intense c‐fos induction was observed in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, especially its anterior medial and ventral aspects, the septohypothalamic nucleus, the ventral lateral septum, the ventral portion of the dentate gyrus, a number of hypothalamic nuclei including the lateral preoptic area, the medial preoptic nucleus and the paraventricular nucleus, the median raphe and the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus. The involvement of a number of these structures in a specific audiogenic stress responsive circuit is discussed.
Journal of Neuroendocrinology – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 1997
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