The performance of WKY rats on three tests of emotional behavior.
ABSTRACT The behavior of Wistar, Fischer-344, and WKY male rats was observed on three tests of emotional behavior. These included the defensive-withdrawal test, the elevated plus maze, and the conditioned defensive-burying test. Rats were subsequently exposed to the water-restraint ulcerogenic procedure. Fischer-344 rats were more active in the defensive-withdrawal tests, but other behavioral measures in this test did not discriminate between the three strains. Scores reflecting anxiety in the elevated plus maze were lowest for Fischer-344 rats and highest for WKY rats, but the anxiety scores of WKY rats did not differ significantly from Wistar rats. The behavior of WKY rats was significantly different from the other two strains in the conditioned defensive burying test. While the degree of anxiety is measured by burying behavior, elicited by the novelty of prod shock, immobility was the prevalent response of WKY rats. WKY rats also revealed significantly higher ulcer severity scores when exposed to water-restraint stress after each behavioral test procedure. We propose that WKY rats are hyperresponsive to stress and that novelty stress elicits depression-like behavior, which is the prevalent behavioral stress response in WKY rats.
Article: Behavioural profiles of two Wistar rat lines selectively bred for high or low anxiety-related behaviour.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Over the past years, two breeding lines, derived originally from outbred Wistar rats, have been established that differ markedly and consistently in their anxiety-related behaviour in the elevated plus-maze. At the age of ten weeks, rats were tested once on the elevated plus-maze and the males and females displaying the most anxious and the least anxious behaviour were sib-mated to start a new generation of the high anxiety-related behaviour (HAB) and the low anxiety-related behaviour (LAB) lines, respectively. The resulting difference in emotionality between these two lines was also evident in an open field test and correlated with differences in the forced swim test. In the open field, the HAB rats tended to be less active and explored the central zone of the open field much less than the LAB animals. In the forced swim test, HAB rats started floating earlier, spent significantly more time in this immobile posture and struggled less than LAB rats. However, in an olfactory-cued social discrimination task there was no difference between male and female animals from either line. The overall performance in these various behavioural tests suggests that selective breeding has resulted in rat lines not only differing markedly in their innate anxiety-related behaviour in the plus-maze, but also in other stress-related behavioural performances, suggesting a close link between the emotional evaluation of a novel and stressful situation and an individual's coping strategy.Behavioural Brain Research 09/1998; 94(2):301-10. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The use of behavioural tests aiming to assess the psychological components of stress in animals has led to divergent and sometimes arbitrary interpretations of animal behaviour. This paper presents a critical evaluation of behavioural methods currently used to investigate stress and emotionality. One of its main goals is to demonstrate, through experimental evidence, that emotionality may no longer be seen as a unidimensional construct. Accordingly, following a discussion about concepts, we propose a multiple-testing approach, paralleled by factor analyses, as a tool to dissociate and study the different dimensions of emotionality. Within this multidimensional context, genetic studies (illustrated here by different rat models) are shown to be particularly useful to investigate the neurobiology of stress/emotionality. A genetic approach can be used (i) to broaden and dissect the variability of responses within and between populations and (ii) to search for the molecular bases (i.e. genes and gene products) which underlie such a variability.Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 02/1998; 22(1):33-57. · 8.65 Impact Factor
Article: Growth restriction alters adult spatial memory and sensorimotor gating in a sex-specific manner[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In Western society, impaired uteroplacental blood flow is the major cause of human intrauterine growth restriction. Infants born small and who experience late childhood accelerated growth have an increased risk of developing adult diseases. Recent studies also suggest a link between birth weight and altered adult behavior, particularly relating to motor function, learning and memory, depression and schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to determine the relative influence of prenatal and postnatal growth restriction on adult behavioral outcomes in male and female rats. Uteroplacental insufficiency was induced in Wistar Kyoto rats by bilateral uterine vessel ligation on day 18 of gestation producing growth-restricted offspring (Restricted group). The Control group had sham surgery. Another group underwent sham surgery, with a reduction in litter size to five at birth equivalent to the Restricted litter size (Reduced Litter group). At 6 months of age, a series of behavioral tests were conducted in male and female offspring. Growth restriction did not impair motor function. In fact, Restricted and Reduced Litter males showed enhanced motor performance compared with Controls (P < 0.05). Spatial memory was greater in Restricted females only (P < 0.05). The Porsolts test was unremarkable, however, males exhibited more depressive-like behavior than females (P < 0.05). A reduction in sensorimotor gating function was identified in Reduced Litter males and females (P < 0.05). We have demonstrated that growth restriction and/or a poor lactational environment can affect adult rat behavior, particularly balance and coordination, memory and learning, and sensorimotor gating function, in a sex-specific manner.Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 01/2012; 3(01):59 - 68.