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STRESS-RELATED ALTERATIONS IN CENTRAL NORADRENERGIC SIGNALING: IMPLICATIONS FOR COMORBID ANXIETY, PTSD, AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE

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abstract
Alcohol use disorder, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are highly comorbid, and this comorbidity is associated with greater symptom severity and worsened treatment outcomes. The frequent co-occurrence of these disorders suggests some common underpinnings, identification of which could lead to improved behavioral and neurobiological interventions and symptom management. Although the shared mechanisms underlying these conditions have yet to be fully elucidated, exposure to chronic stress during adolescence has been implicated in the genesis of each. Exposure to a stressor results in the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and sympathetic nervous system, and this stress response is particularly sensitive during adolescence. Additionally, brain regions involved in generating and terminating the behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to stress, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex, continue to mature throughout adolescence, rendering these structures particularly vulnerable to protracted stress exposure. Indeed, these regions are known to be adversely impacted by prolonged stress exposure in adulthood, and preliminary evidence suggests that chronic stress in adolescence alters their organization, leading to enduring structural and behavioral abnormalities. As such, stress-related changes to the brain during adolescence could have a protracted impact, likely promoting maladaptive behavior into adulthood. Thus, identifying the impact of adolescent stress on neurodevelopment may prove crucial to reversing these deleterious behavioral outcomes.
subject
Alcoholism
Anxiety
Basolateral Amygdala
Fear Learning
Noradrenaline
Post-traumatic Stress
contributor
Skelly, Mary J. (author)
Weiner, Jeffrey L (committee chair)
Pratt, Wayne E (committee member)
Jones, Sara R (committee member)
Nader, Michael A (committee member)
McCool, Brian A (committee member)
date
2015-06-23T08:35:53Z (accessioned)
2015-06-23T08:35:53Z (available)
2015 (issued)
degree
Neuroscience (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/57150 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
STRESS-RELATED ALTERATIONS IN CENTRAL NORADRENERGIC SIGNALING: IMPLICATIONS FOR COMORBID ANXIETY, PTSD, AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE
type
Dissertation

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