Emotional Reactivity in a Rat Model of Depression
This project examines proneness to submissive behavior in rats and interventions to prevent its expression, by way of modeling human depression and its alleviation. Occidental Low Saccharin-consuming (LoS) rats, which are more emotionally reactive than Occidental High Saccharin-consuming (HiS) rats, more frequently become the submissive rat in the pair in a food-competition task. This suggests LoS rats have a phenotypic difference which results in both greater emotional reactivity and greater likelihood for developing depression in response to social stress. LoS rats showed a larger decrease in baseline tail skin temperature between the start of the experiment and establishment of dominant-submissive relationships, implying they experienced greater resting anxiety during competitions. Additionally, those rats that established weaker relationships also showed a larger decrease in tail skin temperature, regardless of dominant or submissive status, suggesting that anticipation of a struggle for dominant status results in greater anxiety. Increased submissiveness was correlated with a larger increase of tail temperature during a trial, suggesting that the more submissive a rat was, the more physiologically aroused it was. Furthermore, the possible acute antidepressant effects of the κ- opioid receptor antagonist nor-BNI were assessed and no significant acute antidepressant effects were found in this model.
Eaton, John, "Emotional Reactivity in a Rat Model of Depression" (2010). URC Student Scholarship.
Nancy Dess, Dale Chapman, and Kerry Thompson
Fletcher Jones Science Scholar Award