According to experts, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe mental condition that is caused by an event that has had a extremely negative effect on the psyche. This could be a life-threatening situation, serious injury, or sexual abuse.
The scientists noted that a person with C-PTSD has been exposed to a traumatic event for a long time, as, for example, in the case of domestic violence.
SUSU scientists have experimentally simulated C-PTSD in male rats. The animals were under stress – a cat mat was constantly in their cage. The rats could smell a predator and a constant threat to their lives.
As a result, unique data was obtained characterising the main brain neurotransmitters – norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.
According to the experts, these substances transmit nerve impulses and form behavioural reactions. Many C-PTSD symptoms are associated with a lack of neurotransmitters in the brain. First of all, it’s anxious behaviour, for example, panic attacks and depression.
“We've shown that in the experimental C-PTSD model, the main differences between susceptible and PTSD-prone animals have primarily to do with serotonin", Vadim Tseilikman, Head of the Advanced Research on Molecular Mechanisms of Stress Laboratory at SUSU, said.
He explained that serotonin is reduced in PTSD-prone rats. This data is very useful for understanding how mental illness develops.
During the study, the scientists measured the concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain of male Wistar rats using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and an electrochemical detector.
In the future, scientists will solve tasks related to the development of the new experimental model’s capabilities. The researchers plan to use it to develop and test new approaches to the correction and treatment of PTSD.
The study results were published in the scientific journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.