Attenuation of stress-induced behavior by antagonism of corticotropin-releasing factor receptors in the central amygdala in the rat

Brain Res. 1993 Oct 1;623(2):229-34. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(93)91432-r.


Research suggests that endogenous corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) in the amygdala plays a role in the expression of stress-induced behavior. This study examined in rats whether antagonism of CRF receptors in the central amygdala (CA) region using alpha-helical CRF9-41, a CRF antagonist, was effective in attenuating the occurrence of stress-induced freezing. Bilateral infusions of 50, 100, or 200 ng of the CRF antagonist were made in the CA region using 33-gauge cannula immediately prior to testing. Freezing was measured in two test conditions. In one condition, the effects of the CRF antagonist on freezing was assessed immediately after exposure to electric foot shock. In the other condition, freezing was examined in shock-experienced rats that were re-exposed to the shock environment. Results suggested that 50 and 100 ng of the CRF antagonist were effective in reducing the duration of freezing in the immediate post-shock period. In addition, the 100 ng dose produced a significant reduction in freezing duration after rats were re-exposed to the shock environment. Collectively, data suggest that antagonizing the action of endogenous CRF in the CA region contributes to a general alleviation of stress-induced freezing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Stress, Physiological / etiology
  • Stress, Physiological / psychology*


  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • alpha helical corticotropin-releasing hormone
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone