Depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors and stress-related neuronal activation in vasopressin-deficient female Brattleboro rats

Anna Fodor, Krisztina Bea Kovács, Diána Balázsfi, Barbara Klausz, Ottó Pintér, Kornél Demeter, Nuria Daviu, Cristina Rabasa, David Rotllant, Roser Nadal, Dóra Zelena, Antonio Armario Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016. Vasopressin can contribute to the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders, anxiety and depression. Although these disturbances are more common in females, most of the preclinical studies have been done in males.We compared female vasopressin-deficient and +/+ Brattleboro rats. To test anxiety we used open-field, elevated plus maze (EPM), marble burying, novelty-induced hypophagia, and social avoidance tests. Object and social recognition were used to assess short term memory. To test depression-like behavior consumption of sweet solutions (sucrose and saccharin) and forced swim test (FST) were studied. The stress-hormone levels were followed by radioimmunoassay and underlying brain areas were studied by c-Fos immunohistochemistry.In the EPM the vasopressin-deficient females showed more entries towards the open arms and less stretch attend posture, drank more sweet fluids and struggled more (in FST) than the +/+ rats. The EPM-induced stress-hormone elevations were smaller in vasopressin-deficient females without basal as well as open-field and FST-induced genotype-differences. On most studied brain areas the resting c-Fos levels were higher in vasopressin-deficient rats, but the FST-induced elevations were smaller than in the +/+ ones.Similarly to males, female vasopressin-deficient animals presented diminished depression- and partly anxiety-like behavior with significant contribution of stress-hormones. In contrast to males, vasopressin deficiency in females had no effect on object and social memory, and stressor-induced c-Fos elevations were diminished only in females. Thus, vasopressin has similar effect on anxiety- and depression-like behavior in males and females, while only in females behavioral alterations are associated with reduced neuronal reactivity in several brain areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-111
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Anxiety
  • Behavior
  • C-Fos
  • Central amygdala
  • Depression
  • Stress-hormones


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