© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. The Roman high- (RHA-I) and low-avoidance (RLA-I) rat strains are bi-directionally bred for their good versus non-acquisition of two-way active avoidance, respectively. They have recently been re-derived through embryo transfer (ET) to Sprague–Dawley females to generate specific pathogen free (SPF) RHA-I/RLA-I rats. Offspring were phenotyped at generations 1 (G1, born from Sprague–Dawley females), 3 and 5 (G3 and G5, born from RHA-I and RLA-I from G2–G4, respectively), and compared with generation 60 from our non-SPF colony. Phenotyping included two-way avoidance acquisition, context-conditioned fear, open-field behaviour, novelty-seeking, baseline startle, pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) and stress-induced increase in plasma corticosterone concentration. Post-ET between-strain differences in avoidance acquisition, context-conditioned freezing and novelty-induced self-grooming are conserved. Other behavioural traits (i.e. hole-board head-dipping, novel object exploration, open-field activity, startle, PPI) differentiate the strains at G3–G5 but not at G1, suggesting that the pre-/post-natal environment may have influenced these co-segregated traits at G1, though further selection pressure along the subsequent generations (G1–G5) rescues the typical strain-related differences.
- Behavioural phenotyping
- Embryo transfer
- Roman rat strains
- Stress-induced corticosterone
- Two-way active avoidance