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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Psychoneuroendocrinology, Volume 33, Issue 3, April 2008, Pages 282–291
Following exposure to trauma, a vulnerable sub-population of individuals develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with characteristic persistent autonomic hyper-responsivity, associated increased startle response, and commonly altered hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal regulation. A goal of this investigation was to identify a predictive marker for this vulnerability. Previous investigators have developed a model for PTSD in which male mice were exposed to a single brief episode of inescapable footshock followed by 1-min contextual reminders of this trauma at weekly intervals for 6 weeks. Exposure to these reminders induced a progressive and persistent increase in the amplitude of acoustic startle consistent with the persistently increased acoustic startle of individuals exhibiting PTSD. We adapted this model to adult male Wistar rats, with added characterization of initial (pre-trauma) startle response. After one episode of inescapable footshock (10 s, 2 mA) or control treatment followed by six weekly 1-min contextual reminders, acoustic startle was re-tested. Data were analyzed after dividing rats within each treatment into LOW vs MID vs HIGH (33% in each group) pre-treatment startle responders. Rats which exhibited pre-treatment LOW- and MID-range acoustic startle responses did not develop increased acoustic startle responses following subsequent traumatic stress+reminders ([TS+R]) treatment. However, rats which exhibited HIGH pre-treatment startle responses exhibited further significant (p<0.01) [TS+R]-induced persistent enhancement of this already elevated startle response. Furthermore, rats exhibiting HIGH pre-treatment startle responses were also the only subgroup which exhibited increased basal plasma corticosterone levels following [TS+R] treatment. These results suggest that initial pre-stress acoustic startle response can identify subgroups of rats which are predisposed to, or resistant to, developing a PTSD-like syndrome following subsequent trauma.