Aberrant ventral dentate gyrus structure and function in trauma susceptible mice

Bart C.J. Dirven, Dewi van der Geugten, Carolina Temporão, Miranda van Bodegom, Leonie Madder, Laura van Agen, Judith R. Homberg, Tamas Kozicz, Marloes J.A.G. Henckens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder vulnerable individuals can develop following a traumatic event, whereas others are resilient. Enhanced insight into the mechanistic underpinnings contributing to these inter-individual differences in trauma susceptibility is key to improved treatment and prevention. Aberrant function of the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) may contribute to its psychopathology, with the dorsal DG potentially encoding trauma memory generalization and the ventral DG anxiety. Using a mouse model, we hypothesized that susceptibility to develop PTSD-like symptoms following trauma will be underpinned by aberrant DG structure and function. Mice were exposed to a traumatic event (unpredictable, inescapable foot shocks) and tested for PTSD-like symptomatology following recovery. In four independent experiments, DG neuronal morphology, synaptic protein gene and protein expression, and neuronal activity during trauma encoding and recall were assessed. Behaviorally, trauma-susceptible animals displayed increased anxiety-like behavior already prior to trauma, increased novelty-induced freezing, but no clear differences in remote trauma memory recall. Comparison of the ventral DG of trauma susceptible vs resilient mice revealed lower spine density, reduced expression of the postsynaptic protein homer1b/c gene and protein, a larger population of neurons active during trauma encoding, and a greater presence of somatostatin neurons. In contrast, the dorsal DG of trauma-susceptible animals did not differ in terms of spine density or gene expression but displayed more active neurons during trauma encoding and a lower amount of somatostatin neurons. Collectively, we here report on specific structural and functional changes in the ventral DG in trauma susceptible male mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number502
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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