Forebrain glucocorticoid receptors modulate anxiety-associated locomotor activation and adrenal responsiveness

Maureen P. Boyle, Benedict J. Kolber, Sherri K. Vogt, David F. Wozniak, Louis J. Muglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Stress potently modulates anxiety- and depression-related behaviors. In response to stressors, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is activated, resulting in the release of glucocorticoids from the adrenal cortex. These hormones act peripherally to restore homeostasis but also feed back to the CNS to control the intensity and duration of the stress response. Glucocorticoids act in limbic areas of the CNS to mediate the psychological and behavioral effects of stress. In this study, we investigate the effect of forebrain-specific disruption of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) on stress- and anxiety-related behaviors. We demonstrate that mice with disruption of forebrain GR show alterations in stress-induced locomotor activation in a number of anxiety-related behavioral paradigms. These changes are associated with alterations in stress-induced HPA axis activation and, importantly, are not attenuated by chronic treatment with the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine. These data demonstrate the importance of forebrain GR in regulation of physiological and behavioral stress reactivity and suggest that distinct pathways regulate despair- and anxiety-related behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1971-1978
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 15 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Behavior
  • Forebrain
  • Glucocorticoid receptor
  • HPA axis
  • Knock-out mice


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