Glutamatergic modulation of separation distress: Profound emotional effects of excitatory amino acids in chicks

Pre-clinical models of brain affective circuits provide relevant evidence for understanding the brain systems that figure heavily in psychiatric disorders. Social isolation and the resulting separation distress contribute to the onset of depression. In this work, the effects of excitatory amino acids (EAA) on isolation-induced distress vocalization (DV) were assessed in young domestic chicks. Both glutamate and quisqualate (QA) produced dose-dependent reductions in DVs, while N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) and kainate (KA) increased DVs. Such a differential pattern of responsiveness may indicate the presence of reciprocal or interacting EAA systems in the brain control of separation distress. Administration of either the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (APV) or the broad-spectrum antagonist gamma-d-glutamylglycine (DGG) greatly reduced DVs, as did the antagonist 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (APB). APV did not attenuate the increase in vocalizations seen after NMDA or KA administration. DGG, however, was able to block the increase in calling produced by either of these agonists, suggesting a KA receptor mechanism. KA treatment inhibited the ability of other chicks, or auditory and somatosensory information, to suppress DVs. KA-treated animals exhibited a hyperemotional behavior pattern during which a variety of motivated behaviors were disrupted including reactions to novel objects, approaching the flock, and foraging. They could not sustain a coherent flock-like social cohesion, but exhibited strong fixed-action patterns of flight interspersed with hiding and crouching behaviors. The evident behavioral changes suggest that glutamatergic synapses directly influence sensory, motor and emotional processes in the brain and may be especially important in the integration of environmental stimuli with emotional central state processes of animals. Considering that unresolved social loss and grief have been deemed to be among the main precipitating causes of depression, and glutamate plays a large role in the production of negative effect related to separation distress, these results are consistent with the emerging work targeting glutamate blockade as a way to produce rapid anti-depressant effects. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Pre-clinical models of brain affective circuits provide relevant evidence for understanding the brain systems that figure heavily in psychiatric disorders. Social isolation and the resulting separation distress contribute to the onset of depression. In this work, the effects of excitatory amino acids (EAA) on isolation-induced distress vocalization (DV) were assessed in young domestic chicks. Both glutamate and quisqualate (QA) produced dose-dependent reductions in DVs, while N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) and kainate (KA) increased DVs. Such a differential pattern of responsiveness may indicate the presence of reciprocal or interacting EAA systems in the brain control of separation distress. Administration of either the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (APV) or the broad-spectrum antagonist gamma-d-glutamylglycine (DGG) greatly reduced DVs, as did the antagonist 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (APB). APV did not attenuate the increase in vocalizations seen after NMDA or KA administration. DGG, however, was able to block the increase in calling produced by either of these agonists, suggesting a KA receptor mechanism. KA treatment inhibited the ability of other chicks, or auditory and somatosensory information, to suppress DVs. KA-treated animals exhibited a hyperemotional behavior pattern during which a variety of motivated behaviors were disrupted including reactions to novel objects, approaching the flock, and foraging. They could not sustain a coherent flock-like social cohesion, but exhibited strong fixed-action patterns of flight interspersed with hiding and crouching behaviors. The evident behavioral changes suggest that glutamatergic synapses directly influence sensory, motor and emotional processes in the brain and may be especially important in the integration of environmental stimuli with emotional central state processes of animals. Considering that unresolved social loss and grief have been deemed to be among the main precipitating causes of depression, and glutamate plays a large role in the production of negative effect related to separation distress, these results are consistent with the emerging work targeting glutamate blockade as a way to produce rapid anti-depressant effects. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Search