The effects of inescapable, uncontrollable, repeated stress on the hippocampus

This 2015 MIT rodent study found:

Behavioral stress impairs cognitive function via activation of a specific direct neural circuit from the basolateral amygdala to the dorsal hippocampus. Moreover, we delineate a molecular mechanism by which behavioral stress is translated to hippocampal dysfunction via a p25/Cdk5 (cyclin-dependent kinase 5)-dependent pathway and epigenetic alterations of neuroplasticity-related gene expression.”

The researchers made several intermediate findings to develop their main finding:

1. “Repeated stress is accompanied by

  • generation of p25,
  • up-regulation and phosphorylation of glucocorticoid receptors,
  • increased HDAC2 [the gene encoding the histone deacetylase 2 enzyme] expression, and
  • reduced expression of memory-related genes [most, but not all that were tested] in the hippocampus.”

2. “BLA [basolateral amygdala] activation is both necessary and sufficient for stress-associated molecular changes and memory impairments.”

3. “This effect [2. above] relies on direct glutamatergic projections from the BLA to the dorsal hippocampus.”

4. “p25 generation is necessary for the stress-induced memory dysfunction.”

From the Results section:

“Control mice showed a significant preference for the novel over the familiar object or location, whereas RFS [repetitive foot shock]-treated mice performed no better than chance.”

The subject adult mice underwent:

“Inescapable, uncontrollable repeated stress.”

Do humans also experience impaired “cognitive function” and “hippocampal dysfunction” and “epigenetic alterations of neuroplasticity-related gene expression” caused by “inescapable, uncontrollable repeated stress”?

And what are the real histories of people who aren’t curious, who don’t show “a significant preference for the novel over the familiar object or location”? “Basolateral amygdala bidirectionally modulates stress-induced hippocampal learning and memory deficits through a p25/Cdk5-dependent pathway”

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