Combined brain-derived neurotrophic factor with extinction training alleviate impaired fear extinction in an animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kataoka Tsutomu,Fuchikami Manabu,Nojima Shinji,Nagashima Nobuyuki,Araki Motoaki,Omura Jun,Miyagi Tatsuhiro,Okamoto Yasumasa,Morinobu Shigeru
Genes, brain, and behavior
Impaired fear memory extinction (Ext) is one of the hallmark symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, since the precise mechanism of impaired Ext remains unknown, effective interventions have not yet been established. Recently, hippocampal-prefrontal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activity was shown to be crucial for Ext in naïve rats. We therefore examined whether decreased hippocampal-prefrontal BDNF activity is also involved in the Ext of rats subjected to a single prolonged stress (SPS) as a model of PTSD. BDNF levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and phosphorylation of TrkB was measured by immunohistochemistry in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of SPS rats. We also examined whether BDNF infusion into the ventral mPFC or hippocampus alleviated the impaired Ext of SPS rats in the contextual fear conditioning paradigm. SPS significantly decreased the levels of BDNF in both the hippocampus and mPFC and TrkB phosphorylation in the ventral mPFC. Infusion of BDNF 24 hours after conditioning in the infralimbic cortex (ILC), but not the prelimbic cortex (PLC) nor hippocampus, alleviated the impairment of Ext. Since amelioration of impaired Ext by BDNF infusion did not occur without extinction training, it seems the two interventions must occur consecutively to alleviate impaired Ext. Additionally, BDNF infusion markedly increased TrkB phosphorylation in the ILC of SPS rats. These findings suggest that decreased BDNF signal transduction might be involved in the impaired Ext of SPS rats, and that activation of the BDNF-TrkB signal might be a novel therapeutic strategy for the impaired Ext by stress.