Behavioral and neuroendocrine effects of the exposure to chronic restraint or variable stress in early adolescent rats
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Stress events during adolescence may contribute to the expression or exacerbation of physical and behavioral disorders. However, little attention has been given to the physiological and behavioral changes promoted by stress during this period of ontogeny. In the present study we investigated, in adolescent male rats, the effects of repeated exposure to restraint or variable stress on: (a) locomotor activity and corticosterone levels after exposure to a novel environment; (b) corticosterone levels in response to the exposure to restraint stress; and (c) changes in body, thymus and adrenal weights. The results demonstrated that repeated exposure to restraint or variable stress reduced the locomotor response, but did not affect corticosterone secretion, in response to a novel environment. Moreover, both chronic stress procedures did not change corticosterone secretion in response to acute restraint stress. Furthermore, our results showed that repeated restraint, but not variable stress, produced a decrease in body weight along the stress exposure. Finally, we observed that the exposure to variable stress reduced the thymus relative weight. Taken together our results suggest that behavioral and physiological changes induced by exposure to chronic stress during adolescence depend on the stress regimen. (C) 2011 ISDN. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.