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Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of startle response is a measure of sensorimotor gating that is impaired in schizophrenia and in many other clinical conditions. Rat models using pharmacological or surgical strategies reveal that PPI is modulated by the cortico-striatal-pallido-thalamic (CSPT) circuit. Here, we explore whether spontaneous variation in PPI in intact inbred and outbred rats is associated with functional and structural differences in the CSPT circuit. Inbred Roman High-(RHA) and Low-avoidance (RLA) and outbred heterogeneous stock (HS) rats were assessed for PPI, brain activity, and volume. Brain activity was assessed by c-Fos expression and brain volume by magnetic resonance imaging. Relevant structures of the CSPT circuit were evaluated, such as the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), cingulate cortex, hippocampus (HPC), amygdala, nucleus accumbens (NAc), and dorsal striatum. RHA showed lower PPI than RLA rats, while HS rats were stratified by their PPI levels in three groups. Reduced PPI was accompanied by decreased mPFC activity in Roman and HS rats and increased NAc shell activity in HS rats. Low PPI was also associated with decreased mPFC and HPC volumes in Roman and HS rats. This study reports a consistent relationship between decreased function and volume of the mPFC and spontaneous low-PPI levels in inbred and outbred intact rats. Moreover, our findings suggest that, apart from a hypoactive and smaller mPFC, a hyperactive NAc and smaller HPC may underlie reduced PPI levels. Our results support the notion that sensorimotor gating is modulated by forebrain structures and highlight the importance of the mPFC in its regulation.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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An outbred strain of rats developed in 1915 by crossing several Wistar Institute white females with a wild gray male. Inbred strains have been derived from this original outbred strain, including Long-Evans cinnamon rats (RATS, INBRED LEC) and Otsuka-Long-Evans-Tokushima Fatty rats (RATS, INBRED OLETF), which are models for Wilson's disease and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, respectively.
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A neurophysiological phenomenon in which the response to a startling stimulus (pulse) is decreased when a weaker prestimulus (prepulse) precedes it closely in time. It is used as an operational measure of sensorimotor gating.
The ability of the BRAIN to suppress neuronal responses to external sensory inputs, such as auditory and visual stimuli. Sensory filtering (or gating) allows humans to block out irrelevant, meaningless, or redundant stimuli.
The opening and closing of ion channels due to a stimulus. The stimulus can be a change in membrane potential (voltage-gated), drugs or chemical transmitters (ligand-gated), or a mechanical deformation. Gating is thought to involve conformational changes of the ion channel which alters selective permeability.
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