Since stressor-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is involved in some stress-related pathologies, much attention has been paid in laboratory animals to the study of the relationship between endocrine, particularly HPA, responsiveness to stressors and other individual characteristics, such as reactivity to novelty and fear/anxiety. In the present study, adult male rats were classified as high or low reactive to novelty (HR versus LR), as a function of the horizontal activity displayed during 30 min in a circular corridor, and as high or low anxiety (HA versus LA) as a function of the time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus-maze. Then, the behavioural and hormonal response to two distinct novel environments (the hole-board and the light-dark) was assessed in the same subjects, using a counterbalanced design. Plasma prolactin, ACTH and corticosterone responses to the hole-board were higher than to the light-dark, a good correlation between the two tests being found for each hormone. Whereas the hormonal response to the novel environments was not affected by anxiety, HR rats showed a consistently higher HPA response than LR rats when the criteria to classify the animals were the activity during the first 15 min in the circular corridor, but not when the activity during the second 15 min was considered. Neither trait affected prolactin response. The present results demonstrate a good within-individual consistency of the endocrine response to novel environments and support the hypothesis of a higher HPA response to stressors for HR versus LR rats. In contrast, no contribution of fear/anxiety to endocrine responsiveness was observed. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Behavioural Brain Research|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Mar 2006|
- High and low responders
- Individual differences
- Reactivity to novelty