Behavioral and neurochemical changes in response to acute stressors: Influence of previous chronic exposure to immobilization

Olga Pol, Lluis Campmany, Montserrat Gil, Antonio Armario

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38 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of daily (2 h) exposure to immobilization (IMO) for 15 days on the behavioral and neurochemical responses of adult male rats to acute stress caused by 2-h IMO or 2-h tail-shock was studied. The brain areas studied were frontal cortex, hippocampus, hypothalamus, midbrain, and pons plus medulla. Chronic exposure to IMO did not alter noradrenaline (NA), 3-methoxy, 4-hydroxyphenyletileneglycol-SO4 (MHPG-SO4), serotonin, or 5-hydroxindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) concentrations in any brain area as measured approximately 20 h after the last exposure to IMO. Exposure to behavioral tests did not modify neurochemical variables except NA levels in the hypothalamus of nonchronically stressed (control) rats. Both exposure to 2-h IMO or 2-h shock significantly decreased NA levels in hypothalamus and midbrain of nonchronically stressed rats. These decreases in response to the two acute stressors were not observed in chronically stressed rats. However, MHPG-SO4 levels increased to the same extent in control and chronically stressed rats after exposure to the acute stressors. Likewise, increased 5-HIAA concentrations observed in response to acute stressors were similar in control and chronically stressed rats. The inhibition of activity (areas crossed and rearing) in the holeboard caused by acute IMO was less marked in rats previously exposed to the same stressor than in control rats, but the response to schock was similar. In the forced swim test, acute IMO decreased struglling in control rats but tended to increase it in chronically stressed rats. The response to shock followed the same pattern as that to IMO, although it was slight. These data suggest that: (a) cross-adaptation between stressors might or might not exist, depending upon the behavioral test studied; (b) previous chronic stress did not appear to reduced monoaminergic response to the same or a novel acute stressor as evaluated by the increases in MHPG-SO4 and 5-HIAA levels; (c) apparently, behavioral adaptation to repeated stress was not related to the changes in noradrenergic or serotonergic activity. © 1992.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-412
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992


  • Chronic stress
  • Cross-adaptation
  • Forced swim
  • Holeboard
  • Noradrenergic activity
  • Serotonergic activity


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