Stress-induced activation of the immediate early gene Arc (activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein) is restricted to telencephalic areas in the rat brain: Relationship to c-fos mRNA

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Abstract

Arc is an effector immediate early gene whose expression is induced in situations of increased neuronal activity. However, there is no report on the influence of stress on Arc expression. Here, we compared the induction of both c-fos and Arc mRNAs in the brain of rats exposed to one of three different stressful situations: novel environment, forced swimming and immobilization. An absent or weak c-fos mRNA signal was observed in control rats, whereas those exposed to one of three stressors showed enhanced c-fos expression in a wide range of brain areas. Constitutive Arc expression was observed in some areas such as cortex, striatum, hippocampus, reticular thalamic nucleus and cerebellar cortex. In response to stressors, a strong induction of Arc was observed, but the pattern was different from that of c-fos. For instance, activation of Arc but not c-fos was observed in the nucleus accumbens after immobilization and in the hippocampus after novel environment. No Arc induction was observed in diencephalic and brainstem areas. The present data show that Arc has a neuroanatomically restricted pattern of induction in the brain after emotional stress. Telencephalic activation suggests that a more intense induction of synaptic plasticity is occurring in this area after exposure to emotional stressors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1118
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Volume89
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004

Keywords

  • Arc
  • Forced swimming
  • Immobilization
  • Novel environment
  • Rat
  • Stress
  • c-fos

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