Stress-related changes in the activity of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript and nesfatin neurons in the midbrain non-preganglionic Edinger-Westphal nucleus in the rat

L. Xu, B. Bloem, B. Gaszner, E. W. Roubos, T. Kozicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations


Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) and nesfatin-1/nucleobindin 2 (NUCB2) are assumed to play a role in feeding and adaptation to stress. Both peptides are highly expressed in the midbrain non-preganglionic Edinger-Westphal nucleus (npEW), a center implicated in the regulation of stress adaptation and in the pathogenesis of stress-induced brain disorders, in a sex-specific manner. The present study was undertaken to test whether CART and nesfatin are involved in these actions of the npEW in the rat. Acute restraint and chronic variable mild stress were used. Following stress, physiological parameters (serum corticosterone levels, body, adrenal and thymus weights) were determined, CART and nesfatin-like immunoreactivity (LI) as well as mRNA expression were analyzed in the npEW nucleus. Our results depict the following changes: (1) Acute stress resulted in an increase in serum corticosterone levels that was higher in females; (2) In males, data on corticosterone and body weight gain and in females, data on body weight gain revealed an effect of chronic stress; (3) Both acute and chronic stress activated npEW neurons expressing CART and nesfatin-LI, as shown by increased cFos immunoreactivity; (4) Chronic, but not acute stress increased the amount of CART and nesfatin-LI in both males and females; (5) Neither acute nor chronic stress had an effect on CART and NUCB2 mRNA contents of npEW neurons in either sex. Taken together, our data suggest that CART and nesfatin are involved in the response of npEW neurons to chronic stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-488
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 13 2010



  • C-Fos immunohistochemistry
  • CART
  • Chronic variable mild stress
  • NUCB2
  • Non-preganglionic Edinger-Westphal nucleus
  • Sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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