NYMC Faculty Publications

Preclinical Findings on the Potential of Intranasal Neuropeptide Y for Treating Hyperarousal Features of PTSD

Journal Title

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

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Last Page


Document Type


Publication Date

November 2019


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Acoustic startle response (ASR) assesses hyperarousal, a core symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Intranasal neuropeptide Y (NPY) administration was shown to prevent hyperarousal in single prolonged stress (SPS) rodent PTSD model. However, it is unclear how ASR itself alters responses to stress. Rats (A-S-A) were exposed to acoustic startle (AS) 1 day before SPS (ASR1) and 2 weeks afterward (ASR2). Other groups were exposed in parallel to either AS (A-A) or SPS or neither. SPS enhanced ASR2. In relevant brain areas, mRNA levels were determined by qRT-PCR. In mediobasal hypothalamus, AS or SPS each increased CRH mRNA levels without an additive effect. Exposure to AS appeared to dampen some responses to SPS. The SPS-triggered reduction of GR and FKBP5 gene expression was not observed in A-S-A group. In locus coeruleus, SPS increased CRHR1 and reduced Y2R mRNAs, but not in A-S-A group. In both regions, AS altered NPY receptor gene expression, which may mediate dampening responses to SPS. In second experiment, intranasal NPY administered 2 weeks after SPS reversed hyperarousal symptoms for at least 7 days. This study reveals important effects of AS on the NPY system and demonstrates that intranasal NPY elicits long-lasting reversal of traumatic stress-triggered hyperarousal.