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1- Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.
2- Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
Background: Psychological stress impairs cognitive performance and affects mood states. This study has compared the effect of four types of psychological stress (i.e., crowding, relocation, isolation, and restraint) on locomotor activity, learning, and memory, as well as anxiety-like behaviors performed by the open field, elevated plus maze, and passive avoidance tests (OFT, EPM, and PA).
Methods: Wistar rats were randomly assigned to different groups of crowding, relocation, isolation, and restraint stress, as well as control. The stress induction was administered for 21 consecutive days (6 hrs/day). To evaluate various types of behaviors, OFT, EPM, and PA tests were used.
Results: According to the PA test results, the latency to enter the darkroom decreased significantly in all stress groups, especially in the crowding  and isolation stress groups. However, it had an inverse relationship with serum corticosterone levels. The total dark stay time increased significantly in the restraint and crowding stress groups, and also particularly, in the isolation stress group. In the isolation stress group, the number of darkroom entries decreased significantly. All stress groups spent a significantly shorter time in the open arms of the EPM apparatus. Finally, the total distance traveled, in the OFT was significantly lower in all stress groups, particularly in the isolation stress group.
Conclusion: Crowding and social isolation were the two stress types that had the most adverse effect on cognitive performance, as they induced stress-driven anxiety-like behaviors, probably due to increased corticosterone secretion. A high or low population of social density may create a condition, in which the nervous system could not efficiently manage stress, particularly at chronic levels.
Type of Study: Original | Subject: Behavioral Neuroscience
Received: 2023/04/9 | Accepted: 2023/05/8

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