Region-specific alteration in brain glutamate: Possible relationship to risk-taking behavior

Bernadette M. Cortese, Todd R. Mitchell, Matthew P. Galloway, Kristen E. Prevost, Jidong Fang, Gregory J. Moore, Thomas W. Uhde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Risk-taking behaviors involve increased motor activity and reduced anxiety in humans. Total sleep deprivation (SD) in animals produces a similar change in motor and fear behaviors. Investigators studied region-specific brain levels of glutamate in rats after TSD, an animal model of risk-taking behavior. We investigated the effects of sleep deprivation on these behaviors and associated levels of brain glutamate. Compared to the controls, the sleep-deprived rats spent a significantly greater percentage of time in the open arms of the elevated plus maze (EPM), demonstrating reduced fear-like and increased risk-taking behaviors. Additionally, sleep deprivation was associated with a significant increase in glutamate levels in the hippocampus and thalamus. An inverse relationship between glutamate in the medial prefrontal cortex and risk taking in the EPM and a positive association between the ratio of glutamate in the hippocampus to medial prefrontal cortex and risk taking was revealed. The role of sleep deprivation-induced changes in brain glutamate and its relationship to anxiety, fear, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-450
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 30 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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