Social stress resulting from dominant-subordinate relationships is associated with body weight loss and altered body composition in subordinate (SUB) male rats. Here, we extend these findings to determine whether stress-induced changes in energy homeostasis persist when the social stress is removed, and the animal is allowed to recover. We examined body weight (BW), body composition, and relevant endocrine measures after one or two cycles of 14 days of social stress, each followed by 21 days of recovery in each rat's individual home cage. SUB lost significantly more BW during social housing in a visible burrow system (VBS) compared with dominant (DOM) animals. Weight loss during social stress was attributable to a decrease in adipose tissue in DOM and SUB, with an additional loss of lean tissue in SUB. During both 21-day recovery periods, DOM and SUB regained lost BW, but only SUB were hyperphagic. Following recovery, SUB had a relatively larger increase in adipose tissue and plasma leptin compared with DOM, indicating that body composition changes were dependent on social status. Control animals that were weight matched to SUB or male rats exposed to the VBS environment without females, and that did not form a social hierarchy, did not exhibit changes in body composition like SUB in the VBS. Therefore, chronic social stress causes social status-dependent changes in BW, composition and endocrine measures that persist after repeated stress and recovery cycles and that may ultimately lead to metabolic disorders and obesity.
"Discontinuation after several exposures to a moderate stressor can stall or perhaps reverse habituation. However, with a large number of repeated exposures to a moderate stressor, the reversal of habituation can take weeks –. To test whether robustness of the stress response can be restored after habituation to a short course of restraint stress, a break in continuity of the daily restraint sessions was applied (Fig. 1A,B; producing an interrupted pattern). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Repeated stress can trigger a range of psychiatric disorders, including anxiety. The propensity to develop abnormal behaviors after repeated stress is related to the severity, frequency and number of stressors. However, the pattern of stress exposure may contribute to the impact of stress. In addition, the anxiogenic nature of repeated stress exposure can be moderated by the degree of coping that occurs, and can be reflected in homotypic habituation to the repeated stress. However, expectations are not clear when a pattern of stress presentation is utilized that diminishes habituation. The purpose of these experiments is to test whether interrupted stress exposure decreases homotypic habituation and leads to greater effects on anxiety-like behavior in adult male rats. We found that repeated interrupted restraint stress resulted in less overall homotypic habituation compared to repeated daily restraint stress. This was demonstrated by greater production of fecal boli and greater corticosterone response to restraint. Furthermore, interrupted restraint stress resulted in a lower body weight and greater adrenal gland weight than daily restraint stress, and greater anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze. Control experiments demonstrated that these effects of the interrupted pattern could not be explained by differences in the total number of stress exposures, differences in the total number of days that the stress periods encompased, nor could it be explained as a result of only the stress exposures after an interruption from stress. These experiments demonstrate that the pattern of stress exposure is a significant determinant of the effects of repeated stress, and that interrupted stress exposure that decreases habituation can have larger effects than a greater number of daily stress exposures. Differences in the pattern of stress exposure are therefore an important factor to consider when predicting the severity of the effects of repeated stress on psychiatric disorders.
PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e102247. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0102247 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Indeed stress severity can alter Chow intake, such that the greater the severity of the stressor, the greater the suppression of Chow intake (Torres and Nowson, 2007; Maniam and Morris, 2012). However, there is also evidence of rodents that alternatively increase food consumption or gain weight in response to chronic stress, in particular, repeated social defeat (Foster et al., 2006; Tamashiro et al., 2007a,b). It bears noting that the stressor paradigms used by researchers, vary widely in terms of duration, intensity and nature (i.e., systemic, neurogenic, psychosocial etc.), making it exceedingly challenging to categorize the varied feeding responses. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current obesity "epidemic" in the developed world is a major health concern; over half of adult Canadians are now classified as overweight or obese. Although the reasons for high obesity rates remain unknown, an important factor appears to be the role stressors play in overconsumption of food and weight gain. In this context, increased stressor exposure and/or perceived stress may influence eating behavior and food choices. Stress-induced anorexia is often noted in rats exposed to chronic stress (e.g., repeated restraint) and access to standard Chow diet; associated reduced consumption and weight loss. However, if a similar stressor exposure takes place in the presence of palatable, calorie dense food, rats often consume an increase proportion of palatable food relative to Chow, leading to weight gain and obesity. In humans, a similar desire to eat palatable or "comfort" foods has been noted under stressful situations; it is thought that this response may potentially be attributable to stress-buffering properties and/or through activation of reward pathways. The complex interplay between stress-induced anorexia and stress-induced obesity is discussed in terms of the overlapping circuitry and neurochemicals that mediate feeding, stress and reward pathways. In particular, this paper draws attention to the bombesin family of peptides (BBs) initially shown to regulate food intake and subsequently shown to mediate stress response as well. Evidence is presented to support the hypothesis that BBs may be involved in stress-induced anorexia under certain conditions, but that the same peptides could also be involved in stress-induced obesity. This hypothesis is based on the unique distribution of BBs in key cortico-limbic brain regions involved in food regulation, reward, incentive salience and motivationally driven behavior.
Frontiers in Neuroscience 10/2013; 7(7):193. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2013.00193 · 3.66 Impact Factor
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