Effects of environmental enrichment in long-lasting anxiety symptoms triggered by acute stress: implications in the emotional memory acquisition

  • Munhoz, Carolina Demarchi C.D. (PI)
  • Santana Novaes, Leonardo (CoPI)

Project Details


The consequences of stressful events on human health, especially related to psychiatric disorders, has gained notoriety in recent years due to the increasing number of comorbidities associated to stress registered in large cities. Emotional disorders related to anxiety symptoms are common among the psychiatric patients and have increasing in importance in scientific papers devoted to stress, which use different approaches to understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the process of emotional memory as a strategy to unravel the persistence of anxiety symptoms caused by a stressful event. The use of the classical paradigm of fear conditioning in several studies have helped to understand the modulatory mechanisms of the emotional arousal on memory processes, reporting the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) as a key brain structure in this process. Among the main findings, changes in local signaling mediated by stress hormones (corticosterone and norepinephrine), as well as CREB signaling, including epigenetic mechanisms, figure as central mechanisms occurring in the BLA. Approaches interested in assess environmental influences on susceptibility and resistance of the organism to stress also grow in number and importance. In a previous study (in preparation) we have found that rats housed in enriched environments are resistant to anxiogenic effects of acute stress, and this process is related to changes in corticosterone signaling process (by glucocorticoid receptor - GR) and CREB in the BLA. As a general objective of this project we are proposing to study the modulatory effects of anxiety, triggered by an acute stressor stimulus, on the mechanism of acquisition of emotional memory. Based on our previous findings and on published data, we are interested in verify the effects of environmental enrichment, and its consequences over GR and CREB signaling in BLA, on the body's response to stress and its implications in the acquisition process of aversive memory in a state of high emotional arousal, as manifested by symptoms of anxiety. We have special interest in epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression control modulated by CREB and GR. (AU)

Effective start/end date1/07/1331/01/18


  • Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo


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