Application of single prolonged stress (SPS) in rats induces changes in neuroendocrine function and arousal that are characteristic of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD, in humans, is associated with decreased neural activity in the prefrontal cortex, increased neural activity in the amygdala complex, and reduced neuronal integrity in the hippocampus. However, the extent to which SPS models these aspects of PTSD has not been established. In order to address this, we used high-resolution magic angle spinning proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (HR-MAS 1H MRS) ex vivo to assay levels of neurochemicals critical for energy metabolism (creatine and lactate), excitatory (glutamate and glutamine) and inhibitory (gamma amino butyric acid (GABA)) neurotransmission, and neuronal integrity (N-acetylaspartate (NAA)) in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), amygdala complex, and hippocampus of SPS and control rats. Glutamate, glutamine, and creatine levels were decreased in the mPFC of SPS rats when compared to controls, which suggests decreased excitatory tone in this region. SPS did not alter the neurochemical profiles of either the hippocampus or amygdala. These data suggest that SPS selectively attenuates excitatory tone, without a disruption of neuronal integrity, in the mPFC.
- Emotional regulation
- Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy
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