© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Schizophrenia involves positive, negative and cognitive symptoms, as well as comorbidity with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle response is a measure of sensorimotor gating that is impaired in schizophrenia and animal models of the disease. Remarkably, impaired PPI has been related to other schizophrenia-like features in rodent models, such as cognitive deficits and hyperactivity. However, it remains to be investigated whether deficient PPI and increased exploratory activity are associated in genetically heterogeneous (outbred) naïve animals. This study was undertaken to evaluate the relationships among PPI and other schizophrenia-related symptoms, such as augmented exploratory activity, anxiety and compulsivity in the genetically heterogeneous (outbred) NIH-HS rat stock (HS) and in the genetically-selected inbred Roman High-Avoidance (RHA) and Low-avoidance (RLA) rats. Animals underwent the following tests: open-field (exploratory activity), elevated zero-maze (anxiety-like behavior), marble burying (compulsive-like behavior), and PPI. Three groups of HS rats were formed according to their PPI scores, i.e. Low-PPI, Medium-PPI and High-PPI. The HS Low-PPI group displayed higher exploratory activity in the open-field than the HS Medium-PPI and HS High-PPI groups. Likewise, compared with their RLA counterparts, RHA rats exhibited lower PPI and more intense exploratory activity in the open-field test. Correlational and factorial analyses of the whole HS sample and the RHA/RLA data globally corroborated the results of the PPI-stratified HS subgroups. These data suggest that such a consistent association between impaired PPI and increased exploratory activity in outbred HS and inbred RHA/RLA rats is a relevant parameter that must be taken into account when modeling clusters of schizophrenia-relevant symptoms.
- Compulsive-like behavior
- Exploratory activity
- Genetically heterogeneous rats
- Prepulse inhibition
- Roman rats