Impulsivity characterization in the roman high-and low-avoidance rat strains: Behavioral and neurochemical differences

Margarita Moreno, Diana Cardona, Maria José Gómez, Fernando Sánchez-Santed, Adolf Tobẽa, Alberto Fernández-Teruel, Leticia Campa, Cristina Sũol, Maria Dolores Escarabajal, Carmen Torres, Pilar Flores

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97 Citations (Scopus)


The selective breeding of Roman high-(RHA) and low-avoidance (RLA) rats for rapid vs extremely poor acquisition of active avoidance behavior in a shuttle-box has generated two phenotypes with different emotional and motivational profiles. The phenotypic traits of the Roman rat lines/strains (outbred or inbred, respectively) include differences in sensation/novelty seeking, anxiety/fearfulness, stress responsivity, and susceptibility to addictive substances. We designed this study to characterize differences between the inbred RHA-I and RLA-I strains in the impulsivity trait by evaluating different aspects of the multifaceted nature of impulsive behaviors using two different models of impulsivity, the delay-discounting task and five-choice serial reaction time (5-CSRT) task. Previously, rats were evaluated on a schedule-induced polydipsia (SIP) task that has been suggested as a model of obsessive-compulsive disorder. RHA-I rats showed an increased acquisition of the SIP task, higher choice impulsivity in the delay-discounting task, and poor inhibitory control as shown by increased premature responses in the 5-CSRT task. Therefore, RHA-I rats manifested an increased impulsivity phenotype compared with RLA-I rats. Moreover, these differences in impulsivity were associated with basal neurochemical differences in striatum and nucleus accumbens monoamines found between the two strains. These findings characterize the Roman rat strains as a valid model for studying the different aspects of impulsive behavior and for analyzing the mechanisms involved in individual predisposition to impulsivity and its related psychopathologies. © 2010 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1208
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • 5-choice serial reaction time task
  • Delay-discounting task
  • Impulsivity
  • Monoamines
  • Roman high-and low-avoidance rats
  • Schedule-induced polydipsia

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