Coping and glucocorticoid receptor regulation by stress inoculation

Lee AG, Buckmaster CL, Yi E, Schatzberg AF, Lyons DM
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014; 49:272-9.


Intermittent exposure to mildly stressful situations provides opportunities to practice coping in the context of exposure psychotherapies and stress inoculation training. Previously, we showed that stress inoculation modeled in juvenile monkeys enhances subsequent indications of resilience. Here we examine stress inoculation effects in adult female monkeys. We found that stress inoculation prevents social separation stress induced anhedonia measured using sucrose preference tests and reduces the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis stress hormone response to a novel environment. Stress inoculation also increases glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) gene expression in anterior cingulate cortex but not hippocampus. Increased anterior cingulate cortex NR3C1 expression induced by stress inoculation is not associated with significant changes in GR1F promoter DNA methylation. On average, low levels of promoter DNA methylation and limited GR1F expression were evident in monkey anterior cingulate cortex as observed in corticolimbic brain regions of adult humans. Taken together these findings suggest that stress inoculation in adulthood enhances behavioral and hormonal aspects of coping without significantly influencing GR1F promoter DNA methylation as a mechanism for NR3C1 transcription regulation.