Post-traumatic stress disorder and beyond: an overview of rodent stress models.
journal contributionposted on 17.06.2019, 10:54 by Johanna Schöner, Andreas Heinz, Matthias Endres, Karen Gertz, Golo Kronenberg
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder of high prevalence and major socioeconomic impact. Patients suffering from PTSD typically present intrusion and avoidance symptoms and alterations in arousal, mood and cognition that last for more than 1 month. Animal models are an indispensable tool to investigate underlying pathophysiological pathways and, in particular, the complex interplay of neuroendocrine, genetic and environmental factors that may be responsible for PTSD induction. Since the 1960s, numerous stress paradigms in rodents have been developed, based largely on Seligman's seminal formulation of 'learned helplessness' in canines. Rodent stress models make use of physiological or psychological stressors such as foot shock, underwater trauma, social defeat, early life stress or predator-based stress. Apart from the brief exposure to an acute stressor, chronic stress models combining a succession of different stressors for a period of several weeks have also been developed. Chronic stress models in rats and mice may elicit characteristic PTSD-like symptoms alongside, more broadly, depressive-like behaviours. In this review, the major existing rodent models of PTSD are reviewed in terms of validity, advantages and limitations; moreover, significant results and implications for future research-such as the role of FKBP5, a mediator of the glucocorticoid stress response and promising target for therapeutic interventions-are discussed.