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Activating effects of chronic variable stress in rats with different exploratory activity: association with dopamine d(1) receptor function in nucleus accumbens

Activating effects of chronic variable stress in rats with different exploratory activity: association with dopamine d(1) receptor function in nucleus accumbens

Neuropsychobiology 64(2): 110-122

Rats display persistent behavioural phenotypes of low (LE) versus high (HE) exploratory activity in the exploration box paradigm. LE rats that prefer passive coping strategies show differential dopaminergic activity in the striatum. The main hypothesis of this study was that chronic variable stress (CVS) would have a higher impact on LE rats. Animals were submitted to a CVS regimen lasting 32 days that was followed by a behavioural test battery. The functional states of their dopamine D(1) and D(2) receptors were measured in the striatum and nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Cerebral oxidative metabolism was assessed via cytochrome c oxidase histochemistry in 65 brain regions. CVS decreased weight gain, to a higher extent in LE rats, and lowered the sucrose preference after the first week, but habituation to the anhedonic effect had developed by the end of the experiment. CVS did not change the behavioural phenotypes initially assigned. No effect of stress on D(2) receptor function was found. Chronically stressed animals exhibited higher levels of social interaction and D(1) receptor-mediated cAMP accumulation in the NAcc, but not in the striatum. CVS was associated with higher oxidative metabolism levels in the anteroventral thalamus, median raphe nuclei and central periaqueductal grey matter. These changes after stress did not depend upon the exploratory phenotype. This study revealed changes in brain biochemistry after habituation to CVS that might be implicated in successful adaptation to chronic stress.

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Accession: 051341279

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21701229

DOI: 10.1159/000325224

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