The role of monoamines in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using a time dependent sensitization animal model
Jeeva, Zakkiyya Igbal
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may result from an exposure to a severely traumatic life-event. It is characterised by a delayed onset of psychological and physical symptoms including re-experiencing the event, avoidance of reminders associated with the trauma, increased autonomic arousal and distinct memory deficits. This disorder is also characterised by a maladaptive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis response and altered monoamine concentrations in the hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex. The Time Dependent Sensitization (TDS) model is a putative animal model of PTSD that is based on the concept of repeated trauma, using three acute stressors (TS) of intense severity followed by a mild situational reminder (RS) on day 7 subsequent to the acute stressors. The aims of this study were to determine if the Triple Stressor (TS) induces stress and if the situational reminder (RS) is necessary for the maintenance of the stress response over time and whether these two stress responses are qualitatively and quantitively different. This was done to further validate the TDS model and to characterize the development and progression of the stress-related pathology of PTSD. Methods used were High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with electrochemical detection (biochemical correlates) for quantifying the monoamines dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NA) and serotonin (5-HT) concentrations in the hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex (PFC); radio immuno assay (RIA) for the determination of plasma corticosterone concentrations (neuroendocrine parameter) and the use of the Elevated Plus Maze (EPM) to detect anxiety-like behaviour (behavioural analyses). The study was subdivided into an Acute and Re-Stress study (n = 10). In the Acute Study rats were exposed to TS as the only stressor. Group 1 was sacrificed immediately after TS, Group 2 was sacrificed 3 days post TS and Group 3 on day 7 post TS. In the Re-Stress Study both TS and RS were used as stressors. Group 4 was sacrificed immediately after the situational reminder, Group 5 was sacrificed 3 days post RS and Group 6 on day 7 post RS. A group of unstressed rats were used as Control. The results of this study found corticosterone concentrations elevated immediately after the TS (p<0.05). Exposure to the RS resulted in a profound hypocortisolism (p<0.05). These results indicate a possible disturbance in the regulation of the HPA-axis, which manifests as an enhanced negative feed-back upon re-introduction of the stressful situation. Changes in MA concentrations were evident. Although no definite fixed trend is apparent in this study, it is evident that the TDS model does induce monoamine dysregulation. Hippocampal NA. DA and 5-HT concentrations were noted to be elevated on day 7 post TS (p<0.05). On day 7 post RS only hippocampal 5HT was decreased significantly (p<0.05). Behavioural analyses indicate that stress related anxiety was not sustained after the TS but 7 days after the exposure to the RS rats were most anxious (p<0.05). The results confirm that the TDS model does induce PTSD-like symptoms in rats and that the situational reminder (RS) is necessary for the maintenance of the stress response. This model may be useful in the investigation of future experimental pharmacological interventions in the management of PTSD.
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