Recovery of stress-impaired social behavior by an antagonist of the CRF binding protein, CRF6-33, in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis of male rats.


Instituto de Psicologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


Social stress is recognized to promote the development of neuropsychiatric and mood disorders. Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) is an important neuropeptide activated by social stress, and it contributes to neural and behavioral adaptations, as indicated by impaired social interactions and anhedonic effects. Few studies have focused on the role of the CRF binding protein (CRFBP), a component of the CRF system, and its activity in the bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BNST), a limbic structure connecting amygdala and hypothalamus. In this study, animals' preference for sweet solutions was examined as an index of stress-induced anhedonic responses in Wistar rats subjected to four brief intermittent episodes of social defeat. Next, social approach was assessed after local infusions of the CRFBP antagonist, CRF fragment 6-33 (CRF6-33) into the BNST. The experience of brief episodes of social defeat impaired social approach behaviors in male rats. However, intra-BNST CRF6-33 infusions restored social approach in stressed animals to the levels of non-stressed rats. CRF6-33 acted selectively on social interaction and did not alter general exploration in nether stressed nor non-stressed rats. These findings suggest that BNST CRFBP is involved in the modulation of anxiety-like responses induced by social stress.


Anxiety,Bed nucleus of stria terminalis,Corticotropin releasing factor binding protein,Social approach,Social stress,