Acute exposure to severe stressors causes marked activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that is reflected on the day after higher resting levels of HPA hormones and sensitization of the HPA response to novel (heterotypic) stressors. However, whether a single exposure to a severe stressor or daily repeated exposure to the same (homotypic) stressor modifies these responses to the same extent has not been studied. In this experiment, we studied this issue in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats daily exposed for seven days to a severe stressor such as immobilization on boards (IMO). A first exposure to 1h IMO resulted in a marked activation of the HPA axis as reflected in plasma levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone, and such activation was significantly reduced after the seventh IMO. On the day after the first IMO, higher resting levels of ACTH and corticosterone and sensitization of their responses to a short exposure to an open-field (OF) were observed, together with a marked hypoactivity in this environment. Repeated exposure to IMO partially reduced hypoactivity, the increase in resting levels of HPA hormones and the ACTH responsiveness to the OF on the day after the last exposure to IMO. In contrast, corticosterone response was gradually increased, suggesting partial dissociation from ACTH. These results indicate that daily repeated exposure to the same stressor partially reduced the HPA response to the homotypic stressor as well as the sensitization of HPA axis activity observed the day after chronic stress cessation. © 2014 Informa UK Ltd.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2014|
- Chronic stress