Induction of deltaFosB in reward-related brain structures after chronic stress

J Neurosci. 2004 Nov 24;24(47):10594-602. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2542-04.2004.


Acute and chronic stress differentially regulate immediate-early gene (IEG) expression in the brain. Although acute stress induces c-Fos and FosB, repeated exposure to stress desensitizes the c-Fos response, but FosB-like immunoreactivity remains high. Several other treatments differentially regulate IEG expression in a similar manner after acute versus chronic exposure. The form of FosB that persists after these chronic treatments has been identified as DeltaFosB, a splice variant of the fosB gene. This study was designed to determine whether the FosB form induced after chronic stress is also DeltaFosB and to map the brain regions and identify the cell populations that exhibit this effect. Western blotting, using an antibody that recognizes all Fos family members, revealed that acute restraint stress caused robust induction of c-Fos and full-length FosB, as well as a small induction of DeltaFosB, in the frontal cortex (fCTX) and nucleus accumbens (NAc). The induction of c-Fos (and to some extent full-length FosB) was desensitized after 10 d of restraint stress, at which point levels of DeltaFosB were high. A similar pattern was observed after chronic unpredictable stress. By use of immunohistochemistry, we found that chronic restraint stress induced DeltaFosB expression predominantly in the fCTX, NAc, and basolateral amygdala, with lower levels of induction seen elsewhere. These findings establish that chronic stress induces DeltaFosB in several discrete regions of the brain. Such induction could contribute to the long-term effects of stress on the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reward
  • Stress, Physiological / metabolism*
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*


  • Fosb protein, rat
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Transcription Factors