The effects of acute stress and acute corticosterone administration on the immobility response in rats

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Abstract

The immobility response is an innate antipredatory behavior in a broad variety of species. The immobility response varies in its postural components but in general is characterized by an absence of movement and a relative unresponsiveness to stimuli. Experimentally in rats, clamping the neck followed by body inversion and manual restrain elicits a response called "immobility by clamping the neck". Stress reactions protect animals against predators and are characterized by activation of the sympathetic and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal systems. However, in mammals, the role of acute stress as a modulator of immobility response has been less studied. The aim of our study was to assess the effects of acute stress and the injection of corticosterone (5 mg/kg, ip) on immobility by clamping the neck in rats. We observed that either previous acute stress caused by forced exposure to elevated open platform or application of a heat-pain stimulus to the rat's tail during the immobility increased the duration of the immobility response caused by clamping the neck. Also, the corticosterone produced a rapid increase (15 min after injection) in the duration of this immobility response. Our results show that the acute stress, in rats, is a facilitator of the immobility response and suggest a possible nongenomic rapid action of corticosterone over brain structures that control this behavior. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)331-336
Number of pages297
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Dec 2009

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Corticosterone
Constriction
Neck
Pituitary-Adrenal System
Instinct
Injections
Behavior Control
Tail
Mammals
Hot Temperature
Pain
Brain

Cite this

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title = "The effects of acute stress and acute corticosterone administration on the immobility response in rats",
abstract = "The immobility response is an innate antipredatory behavior in a broad variety of species. The immobility response varies in its postural components but in general is characterized by an absence of movement and a relative unresponsiveness to stimuli. Experimentally in rats, clamping the neck followed by body inversion and manual restrain elicits a response called {"}immobility by clamping the neck{"}. Stress reactions protect animals against predators and are characterized by activation of the sympathetic and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal systems. However, in mammals, the role of acute stress as a modulator of immobility response has been less studied. The aim of our study was to assess the effects of acute stress and the injection of corticosterone (5 mg/kg, ip) on immobility by clamping the neck in rats. We observed that either previous acute stress caused by forced exposure to elevated open platform or application of a heat-pain stimulus to the rat's tail during the immobility increased the duration of the immobility response caused by clamping the neck. Also, the corticosterone produced a rapid increase (15 min after injection) in the duration of this immobility response. Our results show that the acute stress, in rats, is a facilitator of the immobility response and suggest a possible nongenomic rapid action of corticosterone over brain structures that control this behavior. {\circledC} 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.",
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