Influence of regularity of exposure to chronic stress on the pattern of habituation of pituitary-adrenal hormones, prolactin and glucose

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    Abstract

    The effect of regularity of exposure to two different chronic stressors (noise or immobilization (IMO)) on the pattern of habituation of pituitary- adrenal (PA) hormones, prolactin and glucose was evaluated in adult male rats. Animals were chronically subjected to either regular or irregular time schedule of noise (30 min/day) or IMO (2 h/day) for two weeks. The day after the last stress session the rats were killed without stress or after having been subjected to 30 min of the homotypic stressor. Whereas regular noise did not affect food intake, body weight gain or adrenal weight, irregular noise decreased body weight gain and induced a moderate adrenal hypertrophy. In addition, previous daily exposure to regular but not to irregular noise reduced both prolactin and corticosterone responses to acute noise. In contrast, glucose response to acute noise was reduced after both regular and irregular exposure to chronic noise. Either regular or irregular exposure to chronic IMO decreased food intake and body weight and increased adrenal weight to the same extent. Likewise, no influence of regularity of exposure to chronic IMO on corticosterone and prolactin responses to acute IMO was observed. However, habituation of the ACTH response to acute IMO was observed in rats subjected to chronic regular IMO, but not in rats subjected to chronic irregular IMO. Finally, acute IMO-induced hyperglycemia diminished to the same extent after regular and irregular IMO. From these results we can conclude that: first, the process of habituation of the PA axis to chronic stress is greatly dependent upon factors such as regularity of exposure to the stressor and stressor intensity, and second, the influence of regularity on the pattern of habituation to a repeated stressor is dependent on the physiological variable we are dealing with.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-189
    JournalStress
    Volume1
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1997

    Keywords

    • Chronic stress
    • Glucose
    • Habituation
    • Pituitary-adrenal axis
    • Prolactin
    • Regularity

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