Journal Article Psychological stress in aged female mice causes acute hypophagia independent of central serotonin 2C receptor activation

Matsumoto, Chinami  ,  Yamada, Chihiro  ,  Sadakane, Chiharu  ,  Nahata, Miwa  ,  Hattori, Tomohisa  ,  Takeda, Hiroshi

12 ( 11 )  , p.e0187937 , 2017-11-10 , PLOS
Sex differences exist in the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis following exposure to stress, and the stress response is further affected by aging. This study was conducted to elucidate the mechanism of hypophagia in aged female mice exposed to stress. Immediately after a stress load, aged female mice exhibited acute hypophagia and a rise in plasma corticosterone levels. The administration of a serotonin 2C receptor (5-T2CR) antagonist suppressed plasma corticosterone but did not affect the reduction in food intake. In contrast, an endogenous ghrelin enhancer, rikkunshito (RKT), significantly inhibited the reduction in food intake. An increase in peripheral acylated ghrelin levels during fasting, which occurs in young mice, was not observed in aged female mice. Moreover, in these mice, significantly increased levels of ghrelin and gastric preproghrelin mRNA expression were observed in the fed status. Moreover, plasma ghrelin levels were elevated by RKT and not by the 5-HT2CR antagonist. In female mice, the hypothalamic non-edited (INI) and partially edited mRNA 5-HT2CR isoforms (VNV, VNI, VSV or VSI) decreased with age, while in male mice, the editing isoform was unchanged by aging or stress. Estrogen receptor alpha (ER alpha)-positive cell counts in the arcuate nucleus of young male mice exposed to stress and control aged male mice were increased compared with those in young control mice. In aged male mice exposed to stress, the number of ER alpha-expressing cells in the paraventricular nucleus were significantly increased compared with those in aged control mice; in female mice, there was no increase in the number of ER alpha-positive cells. Hypophagia in aged female mice exposed to stress may be independent of 5-HT2CR activation. It seems likely that the mechanisms may be caused by sex dependent, differential regulation in 5-HT2CR mRNA expression, peripheral acylated ghrelin secretion and/or hypothalamic ER alpha expression.

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