Previously, we have demonstrated that chronic exposure to immobilization (IMO) did not modify the influence of catecholamines on active behaviour of rats in the holeboard, but clearly increased the role of these amines in the forced swimming test (FST). In the present experiment, it was studied whether or not chronic IMO altered the role of dopamine in the two tests. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were left either undisturbed or subjected daily to 2 h of IMO stress for 12 days. On the following day, half of the rats were administered saline and the others the dopamine antagonist haloperidol (0.5 mg/kg). Then the rats remained undisturbed in the animal room (controls) or were subjected to acute IMO for 2 h. Finally, all animals were exposed consecutively to the holeboard (4 min) and the FST (5 min). In non- chronically stressed rats, acute IMO depressed behaviour in the holeboard but not in the FST. In chronic IMO rats the inhibitory effect of acute IMO on holeboard activity was slightly reduced as compared to controls. Acute IMO increased struggling in rats previously exposed to chronic IMO but did not alter struggling in non-chronically stressed rats. Whereas the inhibition caused by haloperidol treatment in the active behaviour of rats in the holeboard was not altered by chronic IMO, the inhibitory effect of haloperidol in the active behaviour of rats in the FST was greater after chronic IMO, particularly in rats also subjected to acute IMO. These data suggest that chronic IMO stress potentiates the role of dopamine in a specific behavioural task such as the FST and adds support to the previously published data demonstrating enhanced behavioural and neurochemical responses to dopamine-related drugs after chronic stress.
- Forced swimming test
- Immobilization stress