Mental stress is highly related to many clinical symptoms and disorders, as it activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis to affect a wide variety of physiological functions. Furthermore, stress leads to the aberrations in HPA axis activity and disruptions of body homeostasis. It was previously shown that neuropeptide FF (NPFF) regulates the HPA axis through the activation of hypothalamus paraventricular nucleus (PVN), and genetic overexpression or pharmacological stimulation of NPFF receptor 2 (NPFFR2) triggers hyperactivity of HPA axis and suppresses behavioral correlates of emotion in mice. In this study, we further examined the role of NPFFR2 in stress response in mice by utilizing a single prolonged stress (SPS). SPS is considered a model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mice undergo physical restraint, forced swimming, and ether anesthesia within a day followed by social isolation for one week. NPFFR2 knockout B6 mice were generated by CRISPR/Cas9 technology and exposed to SPS. The NPFFR2 knockouts showed resistance to stress exposure-induced anxiety-like behaviors and HPA axis hyperactivity. Additionally, the hippocampal mRNA levels of glucocorticoid receptor and mineralocorticoid receptor were reduced in wild-type (WT) mice but not in NPFFR2 knockouts after stress exposure. Our data also suggested that NPFFR2 knockout mice have stronger negative feedback on the HPA axis after exposure to SPS. Mice with intra-PVN Npffr2 shRNA injection displayed trends toward resistance to SPS exposure in both behavioral and molecular assays. Together, our findings suggest that NPFFR2 may be a potential therapeutic target for disorders relating to stress/anxiety and HPA dysregulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- 醫藥 (全部)