Neonatal thyroxine treatment: changes in the number of corticotropin-releasing-factor (CRF) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) containing neurons and density of tyrosine hydroxylase positive fibers (TH) in the amygdala correlate with anxiety-related behavior of wistar rats.

Neuroscience

PubMedID: 14980379

Yilmazer-Hanke DM, Hantsch M, Hanke J, Schulz C, Faber-Zuschratter H, Schwegler H. Neonatal thyroxine treatment: changes in the number of corticotropin-releasing-factor (CRF) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) containing neurons and density of tyrosine hydroxylase positive fibers (TH) in the amygdala correlate with anxiety-related behavior of wistar rats. Neuroscience. 2004;124(2):283-97.
Neonatal hyperthyroidism induces persisting alterations in the adult brain, e.g. in spatial learning and hippocampal morphology. In the present study, the relationship between anxiety-related behavior and amygdala morphology was investigated in the adult rat after transient neonatal hyperthyroidism (daily s.c. injections of 7.5 microg L-thyroxine in 0.5 ml 0.9% NaCl solution from postnatal day p1 to p12). The behavioral tests used to study anxiety-related behavior were the motility test, elevated plus-maze and fear-sensitized acoustic startle response. In the amygdala, the number of neurons containing the anxiogenic peptide corticotropin releasing factor (CRF-ir and CRF mRNA) and anxiolytic neuropeptide Y (NPY-ir), the total number of neurons and the density of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive (TH-ir) fibers were quantified. Thyroxine-treated pups presented an accelerated development including opening of eyes and snout elongation as typical signs of hyperthyroidism. Thyroxine-treated adult animals displayed a reduced anxiety in the motility box and elevated plus maze, a reduction in the number of CRF-ir neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala, as well as an increase in the number of NPY-ir neurons and density of TH-ir fibers in nuclei of the basolateral complex of the amygdala. Moreover, there was a reduction in the total number of neurons in all nuclei of the basolateral complex (despite the higher number of NPY-ir neurons), but not central nucleus of the amygdala. The number of CRF-ir neurons in the central nucleus correlated positively with anxiety-related behavior, and the number of NPY-ir neurons and the density of TH-ir fibers in the basolateral complex correlated inversely with anxiety-related behavior. The findings suggested a shift toward an anxiolytic rather than anxiogenic distribution of peptidergic neurons and fibers in the amygdala at adult age following transient neonatal hyperthyroidism.