Activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis is often abnormal in depression and could hold clues for better treatment of this debilitating disease. However, it has been difficult to use HPA activity as a depression biomarker because both HPA hyperactivity and HPA hypoactivity have been reported in depression. Melancholic depression has typically been associated with HPA hyperactivity, while atypical depression has been linked with HPA hypoactivity. Many animal models of chronic stress recapitulate behavioral aberrations and elevated HPA activity that could represent a model for melancholic depression. However, there are no animal models that could be used to elucidate the etiology or treatment of atypical depression. We have used repeated social defeat in mice to test the hypothesis that this chronic stress would induce dysphoria-like behavior associated with HPA hypoactivity in a subset of subjects. Intruder mice were placed in the home cage of an aggressive resident mouse for 5 min/d for 30 days. The majority of intruder mice had elevated basal plasma corticosterone (High Morning Corticosterone, or HMC) and adrenal 11β hydroxylase mRNA levels relative to control mice that were handled daily. However, a subset of intruder mice (Low Morning Corticosterone; LMC) exhibited basal plasma corticosterone and 11β hydroxylase mRNA levels that were indistinguishable from control levels. Significant changes in emotional behavior only occurred in LMC mice, which exhibited anxiety-like increases in activity and defecation during tail suspension and anhedonia-like decreases in sucrose preference. Relative to HMC mice, LMC mice also showed increases in gene expression of mineralocorticoid receptor in CA2 hippocampus, consistent with the possibility that HPA activity in this group is constrained by increased sensitivity to glucocorticoid negative feedback. LMC mice also exhibited increased c-fos gene expression compared to HMC mice in the paraventricular hypothalamus and lateral septum suggesting that central pathways fail to habituate to chronic stress even though adrenocortical activity is not stimulated. We conclude that LMC mice showed adrenocortical hyporesponsiveness, which in combination with the behavioral abnormalities in this group may represent a model for the HPA hypoactivity associated with atypical depression.
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"In view of that, persistent activation of HPA may eventually lead to end organ burnout and consequent lower CORT release. Accordingly , HPA hypoactivity has been previously reported in other animal models of stress394041. Effects of long-term EPA/DHA supplementation on the composition of the gut microbiota is more pronounced in MS rats Long-term EPA/DHA supplementation has a strong impact on the composition of the gut microbiota in MS rats (Fig 4A) . In particular, high dose administration of EPA/DHA was associated with higher levels of the butyrate producing bacteria; Butyrivibrio. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
Early life stress is a risk factor for many psychiatric disorders ranging from depression to anxiety. Stress, especially during early life, can induce dysbiosis in the gut microbiota, the key modulators of the bidirectional signalling pathways in the gut-brain axis that underline several neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Despite their critical role in the development and function of the central nervous system, the effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) on the regulation of gut-microbiota in early-life stress has not been explored.
Methods and results:
Here, we show that long-term supplementation of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (80% EPA, 20% DHA) n-3 PUFAs mixture could restore the disturbed gut-microbiota composition of maternally separated (MS) female rats. Sprague-Dawley female rats were subjected to an early-life stress, maternal separation procedure from postnatal days 2 to 12. Non-separated (NS) and MS rats were administered saline, EPA/DHA 0.4 g/kg/day or EPA/DHA 1 g/kg/day, respectively. Analysis of the gut microbiota in adult rats revealed that EPA/DHA changes composition in the MS, and to a lesser extent the NS rats, and was associated with attenuation of the corticosterone response to acute stress.
In conclusion, EPA/DHA intervention alters the gut microbiota composition of both neurodevelopmentally normal and early-life stressed animals. This study offers insights into the interaction between n-3 PUFAs and gut microbes, which may play an important role in advancing our understanding of disorders of mood and cognitive functioning, such as anxiety and depression.
"To understand these different results, researchers have started looking at moderators. Some initial findings indicate that when comparing socially defeated animals that have elevated morning corticosterone to those who have low morning corticosterone, the latter group had behaviors and neural changes indicative of worse functioning (Bowens et al. 2012). Similarly, when comparing Bactive^ mice to Bpassive^ mice and controls after chronic social defeat, passive mice showed low basal corticosterone compared to controls, while active mice showed elevated levels of corticosterone. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Status hierarchies are universal across human and non–human animal social groups. Hormones and status interact with one another in a reciprocal manner. The present paper reviews the current literature on the interaction between testosterone (T), cortisol (C) and status in humans, with reference to non-human animal research. We discuss the complexity of the social neuroendocrinology of status with a focus on stable status, competitions for status, and the effects of severe social subjugation. Importantly, we conclude that the relationship between these hormones and status is not direct. We address moderators of the relationship between hormones and status, such as sex, individual differences, context, and T x C interactions, to get a more nuanced understanding of this relationship. Future directions include suggestions for examining this relationship longitudinally, including more females in status research, additional focus on social context and hormonal interactions, as well as non-competitive routes to status.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: There is a paucity of animal models by which the contributions of environmental and genetic factors to the pathobiology of psychosis can be investigated. This study examined the individual and combined effects of chronic social stress during adolescence and deletion of the schizophrenia risk gene neuregulin-1 (NRG1) on adult mouse phenotype. Mice were exposed to repeated social defeat stress during adolescence and assessed for exploratory behaviour, working memory, sucrose preference, social behaviour and prepulse inhibition in adulthood. Thereafter, in vitro cytokine responses to mitogen stimulation and corticosterone inhibition were assayed in spleen cells, with measurement of cytokine and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA in frontal cortex, hippocampus and striatum. NRG1 mutants exhibited hyperactivity, decreased anxiety, impaired sensorimotor gating and reduced preference for social novelty. The effects of stress on exploratory/anxiety-related parameters, spatial working memory, sucrose preference and basal cytokine levels were modified by NRG1 deletion. Stress also exerted varied effect on spleen cytokine response to concanavalin A and brain cytokine and BDNF mRNA expression in NRG1 mutants. The experience of psychosocial stress during adolescence may trigger further pathobiological features that contribute to the development of schizophrenia, particularly in those with underlying NRG1 gene abnormalities. This model elaborates the importance of gene × environment interactions in the etiology of schizophrenia.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Brain Behavior and Immunity