Corticotropin releasing factor induces anxiogenic locomotion in trout and alters serotonergic and dopaminergic activity

Russ E. Carpenter, Michael J. Watt, Gina L. Forster, Øyvind Øverli, Craig Bockholt, Kenneth J. Renner, Cliff H. Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and serotonin (5-HT) are strongly linked to stress and anxiety in vertebrates. As a neuromodulator in the brain, CRF has anxiogenic properties often characterized by increased locomotion and stereotyped behavior in familiar environments. We hypothesized that expression of anxiogenic behavior in response to CRF will also be exhibited in a teleost fish. Rainbow trout were treated with intracerebroventricular (icv) injections of artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF), 500 or 2000 ng ovine CRF, or not injected. Treatment with either dose of CRF elicited greater locomotion and pronounced head shaking behavior but did not influence water column position. Locomotor and head shaking behaviors may be analogous to the increased stereotypy evoked by icv CRF in rats and may reflect the expression of stress/anxiety behavior. Injection with either aCSF or CRF produced significant increases in plasma cortisol. The absence of behavioral changes in aCSF-injected fish suggests that the behavioral responses following CRF were not due to cortisol. Treatment with 2000 ng CRF significantly increased serotonin, 5-HIAA and dopamine concentrations in the subpallium and raphé and increased 5-HIAA in the preoptic hypothalamus (POA). Concurrent effects of CRF on central monoamines, locomotion and head shaking in trout suggest that anxiogenic properties of CRF are evolutionarily conserved. In addition, positive linear correlations between locomotion and serotonergic and dopaminergic function in the subpallium, POA and raphé nuclei suggest a locomotory function for these monoamines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-611
Number of pages12
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • CRF
  • Dopamine
  • Locomotion
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • Raphé
  • Serotonin
  • Subpallium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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