An acute traumatic event can lead to lifelong changes in stress susceptibility and result in psychiatric disease such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We have previously shown that access to a concentrated glucose solution for 24 h beginning immediately after trauma decreased stress-related pathology in the learned helplessness model of PTSD and comorbid major depression. The current study sought to investigate the peripheral physiological effects of post-stress glucose consumption. We exposed 128 male Sprague-Dawley rats to inescapable and unpredictable 1-milliamp electric tail shocks or simple restraint in the learned helplessness procedure. Rats in each stress condition had access to a 40% glucose solution, 40% fructose solution, or water. Blood and liver tissue were extracted and processed for assay. We assessed corticosterone, corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), glucose, and liver glycogen concentrations at various time points following stress. We found that rats given access to glucose following exposure to traumatic shock showed a transient rise in blood glucose and an increase in liver glycogen repletion compared to those that received water or fructose following exposure to electric shock. We also found that animals given glucose following shock exhibited reduced free corticosterone and increased CBG compared to their water-drinking counterparts. However, this difference was not apparent when glucose was compared to fructose. These data suggest that post-stress glucose prophylaxis is likely not working via modulation of the HPA axis, but rather may provide its benefit by mitigating the metabolic challenges of trauma exposure.
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