Coping with stress in rats and mice: Differential peptidergic modulation of the amygdala-lateral septum complex

J.M. Koolhaas, H.G.J. Everts, A.J.H. de Ruiter, S.F. de Boer, B. Bohus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

91 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the parvicellular vasopressin (VP) system originating from the medial nucleus of the amygdala (MeA) and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). The vasopressinergic fibers of these nuclei innervate a number of limbic brain areas including the septum-hippocampal complex. Interestingly, this VP system is sexually dimorphic and the VP synthesis in this system depends on circulating gonadal steroids. Studies in rats and mice show that the variation in the lateral septal VP network within the male gender is as large as the variation between the sexes as reported in the literature. Non-aggressive males are characterized by a far more extensive VP network and a higher VP content in the lateral septal area than aggressive males. A review of the literature on the function of lateral septal VP in the organization of behavior reveals not only a modulatory role of behavior in a social context, but also of fear- and anxiety-related behaviors. It is argued that these seemingly diverse functions might be explained by the concept of coping style. Extensive behavioral and physiological analyses in a variety of animal species show that males may be characterized by the way in which they cope with environmental challenges in general. Aggressive males tend to cope actively with their environment whereas nonaggressive males seem to accept the situation as it is more easily. In several tests, we determined the effects of chronic infusion of the V-1 receptor antagonist locally into the lateral septal area in male rats. The main conclusion from these experiments is that LS VP does not modulate coping style in general. However, the experiments confirm the idea that LS VP has a certain degree of functional specificity in social behavior and social learning tasks. Together with the observation that the size and distribution of the vasopressinergic system may be highly variable between individual males in relation to their coping style, this suggests that the lateral septal vasopressinergic system is involved in the differential capacity of individuals to cope behaviorally with challenges of a social nature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Brain Vasopressin
EditorsI.J.H. Urban, J.P.H. Burbach, D. De Wed
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherElsevier
Pages437-448
Number of pages12
Volume119
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
PublisherElsevier
Volume119
ISSN (Print)0079-6123

Keywords

  • VASOPRESSIN MESSENGER-RNA
  • VOLES MICROTUS-OCHROGASTER
  • ANXIETY-RELATED BEHAVIOR
  • NONAGGRESSIVE MALE-MICE
  • ROMAN HIGH-AVOIDANCE
  • BED NUCLEUS
  • STRIA TERMINALIS
  • PRAIRIE VOLES
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • ARGININE-VASOPRESSIN

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