Sustained acceleration of colonic transit following chronic homotypic stress in oxytocin knockout mice

Reji Babygirija, Mehmet Bülbül, Diana Cerjak, Kirk Ludwig, Toku Takahashi
Neuroscience Letters 2011 May 9, 495 (1): 77-81
Acute restraint stress delays gastric emptying and accelerates colonic transit via central corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) in rats. In contrast, central oxytocin has anxiolytic effects and attenuates the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in response to stress. Our recent study showed that up regulated oxytocin expression attenuates hypothalamic CRF expression and restores impaired gastric motility following chronic homotypic stress in mice. We studied the effects of acute and chronic homotypic stress on colonic transit and hypothalamic CRF mRNA expression in wild type (WT) and oxytocin knockout (OXT-KO) mice. Colonic transit was measured following acute restraint stress or chronic homotypic stress (repeated restraint stress for 5 consecutive days). (51)Cr was injected via a catheter into the proximal colon. Ninety minutes after restraint stress loading, the entire colon was removed. The geometric center (GC) was calculated to evaluate colonic transit. Expression of CRF mRNA in the supraoptic nucleus (SON) was measured by real time RT-PCR. Colonic transit was significantly accelerated following acute stress in WT (GC=8.1±0.8; n=7) and OXT KO mice (GC=9.4±0.3; n=7). The accelerated colonic transit was significantly attenuated in WT mice (GC=6.6±0.5; n=9) following chronic homotypic stress while it was still accelerated in OXT KO mice (GC=9.3±0.5; n=8). The increase in CRF mRNA expression at the SON was much greater in OXT-KO mice, compared to WT mice following chronic homotypic stress. It is suggested that oxytocin plays a pivotal role in mediating the adaptation mechanism following chronic homotypic stress in mice.

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