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Title page for ETD etd-06122009-161841

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Shields, Angela Delight
URN etd-06122009-161841
Title Characterization of the Function and Localization of the Alpha2A-Adrenergic Receptor in the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis
Degree PhD
Department Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Eric Delpire Committee Chair
Al Beth Committee Member
Aurelio Galli Committee Member
Randy Blakely Committee Member
Roger Colbran Committee Member
  • extended amygdala
  • stress
  • adrenergic receptor
  • addiction
  • bed nucleus stria terminalis
Date of Defense 2009-05-18
Availability unrestricted
The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is a region of the brain critical in mediating behavioral and physiological responses to stress and anxiety. Stress is a major cause of relapse for drug addicts attempting to abstain from drugs of abuse. The BNST receives a dense projection of the stress hormone norepinephrine (NE) from the nucleus tractus solitarus, and this projection is critical in stress-induced relapse to drug-seeking in rodent models. NE acts via adrenergic receptors (AR), including the alpha2A-AR subtype of the alpha2-ARs.

This thesis describes work utilizing electrophysiology and immunohistochemistry approaches to characterize the function and localization of the alpha2A-AR in the dorsal BNST. We provide evidence supporting a heterosynaptic localization of the alpha2A-AR on presynaptic glutamate terminals where it functions to regulate glutamate release. We also demonstrate that activation of alpha2-ARs modulates GABAergic transmission in the dorsal BNST.

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