Chronic Stress Triggers Social Aversion via Glucocorticoid Receptor in Dopaminoceptive Neurons.

Molecular Genetics, Neurophysiology and Behavior Group, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Unité Mixte de Recherche (UMR) 7224, 75005 Paris, France.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 01/2013; 339(6117):332-335. DOI: 10.1126/science.1226767
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Repeated traumatic events induce long-lasting behavioral changes that are key to organism adaptation and that affect cognitive, emotional, and social behaviors. Rodents subjected to repeated instances of aggression develop enduring social aversion and increased anxiety. Such repeated aggressions trigger a stress response, resulting in glucocorticoid release and activation of the ascending dopamine (DA) system. We bred mice with selective inactivation of the gene encoding the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) along the DA pathway, and exposed them to repeated aggressions. GR in dopaminoceptive but not DA-releasing neurons specifically promoted social aversion as well as dopaminergic neurochemical and electrophysiological neuroadaptations. Anxiety and fear memories remained unaffected. Acute inhibition of the activity of DA-releasing neurons fully restored social interaction in socially defeated wild-type mice. Our data suggest a GR-dependent neuronal dichotomy for the regulation of emotional and social behaviors, and clearly implicate GR as a link between stress resiliency and dopaminergic tone.

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