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Effects of birth insult and stress at adulthood on excitatory amino acid receptors in adult rat brain.

  • El-Khodor, Bassem F
  • Flores, Gonzalo
  • Srivastava, Lalit K
  • Boksa, Patricia
Published Article
Synapse (New York, N.Y.)
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2004
PMID: 15452866


Birth complications involving fetal hypoxia and stress at adulthood, which are risk factors for schizophrenia, can produce alterations in subcortical dopamine (DA) function in rat models. As adults, rats born either by cesarean section (C-section) or by C-section with added global anoxia show increased stress-induced DA release from nucleus accumbens and increased amphetamine-induced locomotion, compared to vaginally born controls. Moreover, stress at adulthood interacts with these birth insults to modulate DA receptor and transporter levels. Glutamatergic transmission at the level of the nucleus accumbens, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus are known to modulate subcortical DA activity. Thus, altered excitatory amino acid (EAA) function might contribute to the dopaminergic changes observed in rats after birth insult and/or stress at adulthood. To test this possibility, rats born vaginally, by C-section, or by C-section with 15 min of anoxia, were either repeatedly stressed (15 min of tail pinch daily for 5 days) at adulthood or received no stress, and levels of EAA receptor binding were measured by ligand autoradiography in limbic brain regions. As adults, rats born by C-section showed increases in AMPA receptor binding in nucleus accumbens shell, NMDA receptor binding in cingulate cortex, and kainate receptor binding in the hippocampal CA1 region. Anoxic rats showed increases in CA1 kainate receptor and anterior olfactory NMDA receptor binding. Stress at adulthood increased AMPA receptor binding in several regions of prefrontal cortex and reduced NMDA receptor binding in infralimbic cortex and dentate gyrus, across all birth groups. Two instances of interactions between birth insult and stress at adulthood were observed. Stress reduced cingulate cortex NMDA receptor binding and increased olfactory tubercle kainate receptor binding only in C-sectioned animals, but not in controls. The possibility that the observed EAA receptor changes contribute to dopaminergic dysfunction in these animal models is discussed, in light of known glutamate-DA interactions.

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