Age-related changes in grooming behavior and motor activity in female rats.

Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Ciudad Universitaria, Argentina.
Physiology & Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.16). 06/1999; 66(3):481-4. DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9384(98)00314-X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The influence of hormonal status and the age of the rat on the expression of grooming behavior and motor activity were studied. Grooming, locomotion, and rearing were measured in young (4-months-old), adult (6-8-months-old), and old (18-months-old) female rats, during the estrous cycle. These behavioral performances were influenced by the hormonal changes that occur in young and adult female rats during the estrous cycle. In old rats there were no significant differences among the different days of the estrous cycle. A significant age-related decrease in grooming behavior and motor activity was also found. Locomotion and rearing were the parameters most affected by age. These findings could be related to: (a) the gonadal hormonal status, which appears to be able to modulate behavioral responses; and (b) the age-related changes, which may affect the normal display of these behaviors. The possible role of central peptidergic, cholinergic, and dopaminergic neural systems is discussed.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Brain structures and functions are increasingly recognized to be directly affected by gonadal hormones, which classically determine reproductive functions and sexual phenotypes. In this regard, we found recently that ovariectomy trimmed the dendritic spines of female rat primary somatosensory cortical neurons and estradiol supplement reversed it. Here, we investigated whether in the male androgen also has a cortical modulatory effect. The dendritic arbors and spines of rat somatosensory cortical pyramidal neurons were studied following intracellular dye injection and three-dimensional reconstruction. Dendritic spines, but not length, of the layers III and V pyramidal neurons were found reduced at 2 weeks and rebounded slightly at 4 weeks and further at 8 and 24 weeks following castration, which, however, remained significantly fewer than those of the intact animals. Two weeks of osmotic pump-delivered testosterone treatment to animals castrated for 4 weeks replenished serum testosterone and reversed the densities of dendritic spines on these neurons to control animal levels. Androgen receptor appears to mediate this effect as its antagonist flutamide reduced the dendritic spines of normal adult rats while causing a mild feedback surge of serum testosterone. On the other hand, blocking the conversion of testosterone to estrogen with the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole failed to alter the dendritic spine densities in male adult rats. In conclusion, these results support our hypothesis that testosterone acts directly on the androgen receptor in males to modulate the dendritic spines of somatosensory cortical output neurons.
    Brain Structure and Function 01/2013; · 7.84 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Systemically administered cannabinoids produce greater antinociceptive and sedative effects in female compared to male rats. Sex differences in the brain endocannabinoid system have also been reported. The aim of this study was to determine whether sex differences in antinociceptive and motoric effects of a cannabinoid can be attributed to supraspinal mechanisms. Vehicle or Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, 100 μg) was administered i.c.v., and behavioral effects were compared between gonadally intact male and female rats, and among females in different estrous stages (early proestrus, late proestrus, estrus and diestrus). Antinociception on the tail withdrawal and paw pressure tests after i.c.v. THC was slightly but not significantly greater in females (pooled across estrous stages) compared to males. THC suppressed locomotor activity similarly in all groups, with the exception that only males showed hyperlocomotion at 4 h post-injection. When females in the four estrous stages were compared, females in late proestrus showed significantly greater THC-induced antinociception than females in estrus (and males). These results suggest that supraspinal mechanisms may contribute to greater systemic THC effects in females compared to males, and to estrous stage-dependent differences in THC effects among females.
    Behavioural brain research 01/2011; 216(1):200-6. · 3.22 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The defensive withdrawal test (DWT) is used to model anxiety-like behaviour in rats. The aim of this study was to investigate whether an aversive stimulus, bright light, affects the behaviour in this test. Additionally, the effect of habituation to the apparatus was studied. Both male and female Wistar rats were used to study whether sex differences exist in the DWT, as reported for other tests of anxiety. On day 1 half of the rats were tested under low light and half under bright light. Two to seven days after trial one the same rats were repeatedly tested under the same light condition for five consecutive days. The male rats showed a higher degree of anxiety-like behaviour when tested under bright light than under low light. In contrast, the behaviour of the female rats was not affected by changes in illumination. Male rats also exhibited elevated anxiety-like behaviour compared to female rats under bright light, whereas under low light conditions no sex difference was seen. Males in low light habituated much faster than males tested under bright light, whereas in females there was little difference in habituation between low and bright light. In summary, we found that bright light is aversive for male but not female Wistar rats in the DWT. Whether this is due to sex differences in light sensitivity or if females respond with a different behavioural strategy in response to bright light, which could not be detected in the DWT, remains to be elucidated.
    Behavioural brain research 05/2009; 202(2):303-7. · 3.22 Impact Factor