© 2019 Giorgi, Corda and Fernández-Teruel. The bidirectional selective breeding of Roman high- (RHA) and low-avoidance (RLA) rats for respectively rapid vs. poor acquisition of active avoidant behavior has generated two lines/strains that differ markedly in terms of emotional reactivity, with RHA rats being less fearful than their RLA counterparts. Many other behavioral traits have been segregated along the selection procedure; thus, compared with their RLA counterparts, RHA rats behave as proactive copers in the face of aversive conditions, display a robust sensation/novelty seeking (SNS) profile, and show high impulsivity and an innate preference for natural and drug rewards. Impulsivity is a multifaceted behavioral trait and is generally defined as a tendency to express actions that are poorly conceived, premature, highly risky or inappropriate to the situation, that frequently lead to unpleasant consequences. High levels of impulsivity are associated with several neuropsychiatric conditions including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and drug addiction. Herein, we review the behavioral and neurochemical differences between RHA and RLA rats and survey evidence that RHA rats represent a valid genetic model, with face, construct, and predictive validity, to investigate the neural underpinnings of behavioral disinhibition, novelty seeking, impulsivity, vulnerability to drug addiction as well as deficits in attentional processes, cognitive impairments and other schizophrenia-relevant traits.
- Genetic animal model
- Mesoaccumbens and mesocortical dopaminergic pathways
- Roman high- and low-avoidance rats
- Schizophrenia-relevant symptoms
- Sensation/novelty seeking
- Vulnerability to drug abuse