First Advisor

Barbara Sorg

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology and University Honors






stress, resilience, parvalbumin, PNNs, prefrontal cortex, escapable stress




Stress affects all organisms and results in psychopathologies such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and other maladaptive behaviors. The ability to control the stress, called escapable stress (ES), is highly correlated with developing resilience in response to subsequent stressors. Escapable stress differentially activates the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (mPFCv) leading to inhibition in the amygdala. This activation of the mPFCv and inhibition of the amygdala appears to be a core part of the development of resilience. Parvalbumin (PV) interneurons potently regulate the output of the mPFCv. Most PV neurons are surrounded by perineuronal nets (PNNs), which regulate their firing properties. Here we exposed male rats to acute escapable and inescapable stress (IS) and to determine the impact on c-Fos, PV, and PNNs in the mPFCv and the amygdala. In the mPFCv, c-Fos expression was increased after both ES and IS, with increased PV and PNN expression in c-Fos activated cells only after IS. In the amygdala, we found greater c-Fos and PV expression after ES compared with IS. Together, these data indicate that in the mPFCv, enhanced PV neuron activity may impair resilience by inhibiting mPFC output after IS, whereas in the amygdala, enhanced PV neuron activity may promote resilience by inhibiting amygdala output after ES. Overall, our findings support the behavioral data found in our previous work showing that IS leads to inhibition of the mPFCv and maladaptive behaviors, while ES leads to inhibition of the amygdala to promote an adaptive response to subsequent stressors.

Persistent Identifier

Available for download on Sunday, November 15, 2026