The central neurochemical and neuroendocrine effects of a psychogenic (ferret exposure) and a neurogenic (restraint) stressor were assessed in rats that had been selectively bred for differences in amygdala excitability manifested by either Fast or Slow amygdala kindling epileptogenesis. While these rat lines differ in their emotionality, their behavioral styles were dependent on the nature of the stressor to which they were exposed. During restraint, the Slow rats were mostly immobile, while Fast rats persistently struggled. In contrast, Fast rats were more immobile in response to the ferret. Yet, the more emotional Slow rats exhibited a greater corticosterone response to the ferret, while comparable corticosterone responses between lines were evident following restraint. Although both stressors influenced norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA) and/or serotonin (5-HT) activity in brain regions typically associated with stressors (e.g., locus coeruleus, paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens, prefrontal cortex), considerable amine alterations were evident in the medial and basolateral amygdala nuclei but not in the central nucleus. Moreover, greater NE changes were apparent in the medial amygdala of the left hemisphere. Similarly, DA alterations also were greater in the left medial amygdala in response to stressors. Despite very different behavioral styles, however, the two lines often exhibited similar amine alterations in response to both stressors.
- Limbic excitability