Electroconvulsive shocks increase the concentration of neocortical and hippocampal neuropeptide Y (NPY)-like immunoreactivity in the rat

Claes R Wahlestedt, Julie A. Blendy, Kenneth J. Kellar, Markus Heilig, Erik Widerlöv, Rolf Ekman

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94 Scopus citations


Studies on humans and rats have suggested that neuropeptide Y (NPY) is involved in major depression and anxiety. Therefore, we conducted the present study in order to elucidate the effect of repeated (13 or 14 days) treatment of rats with electroconvulsive shocks (ECS) on the concentration of NPY-like immunoreactivity (-LI) in various brain regions, adrenals and plasma. In addition, the effect of ECS on 125I-NPY binding was studied in 3 brain regions. The effects of ECS were compared to effects of 3 control treatments: one group not being handled at all during the time period, one group handled like the ECS-group but not receiving shocks, and one group receiving shocks below the threshold for induction of convulsions. The latter group developed behavioural signs reminiscent of the inescapable shock-induced 'learned helplessness' syndrome (a proposed animal model of depression). We found that the concentration of NPY-LI in the frontal and parietal cortex and in the hippocampus were approximately doubled in the ECS-group as compared to the 3 control groups. No changes in NPY-LI were detected in the striatum, hypothalamus, pons, olfactory bulbs or cerebellum, nor in plasma or adrenals. In spite of the marked changes NPY-LI concentration, the binding characteristics of 125I-NPY in the frontal and parietal cortex and in the hippocampus were similar in all 4 groups of rats. Finally, we confirmed the previous observationnthat ECS increase [3H]prazosin binding in cortex. In conclusion, ECS treatment increases neocortical and hippocampal NPY-LI concentrations, while leaving 125I-NPY binding unaffected. Subconvulsive shocks were without effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-68
Number of pages4
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 1990
Externally publishedYes



  • Depression
  • Electroconvulsive shock
  • Hippocampus
  • Neocortex
  • Neuropeptide Y

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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