Region- and time-dependent gene regulation in the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex of a PTSD-like mouse model

Mikiei Tanaka, Hongyun Li, Xijun Zhang, Jatinder Singh, Clifton Dalgard, Matthew Wilkerson, Yumin Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Posttraumatic stress disorder is developed by exposure to a threatening and/or a horrifying event and characterized by the presence of anxiety, hyperarousal, avoidance, and sleep abnormality for a prolonged period of time. To elucidate the potential molecular mechanisms, we constructed a mouse model by electric foot shock followed by situational reminders and performed transcriptome analysis in brain tissues. The stressed mice acquired anxiety-like behavior after 2 weeks and exaggerated startle response after 4 weeks. Avoidance latency and freezing behavior were sustained up to 5 weeks post stress and abnormal static behavior was observed during the sleep period. RNA sequencing was performed in two of the emotional regulatory regions, anterior cingulate cortex and amygdala, at 2 and 5 weeks post stress. More than 1000 differentially expressed genes were identified at 2 weeks in both regions. The number of the regulated genes remained constant in amygdala at 5 weeks post stress, whereas those in anterior cingulate cortex were plummeted. Although synaptic remodeling and endocrine system were the most enriched signaling pathways in both anterior cingulate cortex and amygdala, the individual gene expression profile was regulated in a region- and time-dependent manner. In addition, several genes associated with PTSD involved in Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis were differentially regulated. These findings suggested that global gene expression profile was dynamically regulated in accordance with the disease development stage, and therefore targeting the distinct signaling molecules in different region and development stage might be critical for effective treatment to PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalMolecular Brain
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • Anxiety
  • Avoidance
  • Hyperarousal
  • Long-term regulation
  • Neuroendocrine
  • RNA-seq
  • Sleep
  • Synaptic remodeling


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