Context-dependent differences in grooming behavior among the NIH heterogeneous stock and the Roman high- and low-avoidance rats.

C. Estanislau, S. Díaz-Morán, T. Cañete, G. Blázquez, A. Tobeña, A. Fernández-Teruel

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Grooming occurs during/after stress and seems to accompany dearousal. Here, grooming was investigated under testing situations involving different levels of aversiveness, taking advantage of differences among three rat strains in fearfulness/anxiety. Inbred Roman High Avoidance (RHA-I) rats are less anxious/fearful than inbred Roman Low Avoidance (RLA-I). The outbred genetically heterogeneous stock of rats (NIH-HS), which resembles the RLA-I in many behavioral traits, was also studied. Adult male rats (RLA-I: n= 9, RHA-I: n= 10, NIH-HS: n= 12) were observed for 30. min in: a novel open-field, a novel hole-board and in the home-cage. They were also observed during two-way active avoidance training. Differences in grooming depended on test situation: (a) No differences were found in the home-cage. (b) While tested in a novel environment, RHA-I showed less grooming activity than the other rats. (c) After avoidance responses appeared, differences among the strains were opposite to the observed in novelty tests. Furthermore, results suggest that (i) grooming is mostly suppressed when assured aversive experience is under way; (ii) rostral grooming prevails when experience with aversive stimuli is unpredictable (novelty) or potential (avoidance training); (iii) body grooming increases for a period in novel environments. In general, our results support that grooming takes place during dearousal. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd and the Japan Neuroscience Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-201
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Grooming
  • Home-cage
  • NIH heterogeneous rat stock
  • Novelty
  • Roman strains
  • Two-way active avoidance

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