Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The aim of the present study was to assess the influence of experimential factors on the vulnerability of rats to develop amphetamine (AMPH)- and stressor-induced behavioral sensitization. Young male Wistar rats with previous social experience were isolated from their peers for 2 weeks. 1) The effect of this short-lasting social deprivation were: a) a reduced tendency to explore a fearful environment; b) a prolonged exploratory activity in response to a novel but little fearful environment; and c) a dose-dependent increase in the psychomotor stimulation induced by systemic AMPH injection. 2) After repeated AMPH injections (injection every other day for 10 days), isolated rats exhibited behavioral sensitization at lower doses (0.5 and 0.75 mg/kg) than those required for group-housed rats (1 mg/kg). 3) After being submitted to a repeated stressor (3, 7 or 14 footshock sessions, with 2 days between sessions), the isolated rats exhibited a greater increase in the behavioral responsivity to a subsequent AMPH challenge (1 mg/kg) than did the group-housed rats regardless of the number of stress sessions. In conclusion, these results suggest that experiential factors such as privation of contact with peers (social isolation) may make rats more vulnerable to the long-term repercussions of chronic environmental and pharmacological challenges.
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