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Early adolescent adversity alters periaqueductal gray/dorsal raphe threat responding in adult female rats

Authors
  • Moaddab, Mahsa1
  • Wright, Kristina M.1
  • McDannald, Michael A.1
  • 1 Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave., 514 McGuinn Hall, Chestnut Hill, MA, 02467, USA , Chestnut Hill (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Scientific Reports
Publisher
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Oct 22, 2020
Volume
10
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-74457-3
Source
Springer Nature
License
Green

Abstract

Early adolescent adversity increases adult risk for anxiety disorders. The ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG) and neighboring dorsal raphe (DR) are integral to threat prediction, and are responsive to acute stressors. Here, we tested the hypothesis that early adolescent adversity reshapes vlPAG/DR threat-related cue activity and threat probability signaling. Female, Long Evans rats experienced a battery of adverse adolescent experiences (n = 12), while controls did not (n = 8). Single-unit activity was recorded 50 + days following the final adverse experience, when the adult rats received fear discrimination consisting of danger, uncertainty and safety cues. Despite achieving fear discrimination that was equivalent to controls, vlPAG/DR threat responding was altered in adverse-experienced rats. Early adolescent adversity resulted in a greater proportion of cue-responsive neurons. Cue-excited neurons showed greater increases in firing and cue-inhibited neurons showed greater decreases. Even more, early adversity reduced flexible, threat probability signaling by cue-excited neurons and promoted more rigid, fear output signaling by cue-inhibited neurons. The results reveal long-lasting changes in vlPAG/DR threat responding resulting from early adolescent adversity.

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