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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005 Jun;180(1):57-62. Epub 2005 Jan 14.

Long-term evaluation of isolation-rearing induced prepulse inhibition deficits in rats: an update.

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  • 1Psychiatry CEDD, GlaxoSmithKline plc, New Frontiers Science Park, Third Avenue, Harlow, Essex, UK CM19 5AW.



Rats reared in social isolation from weaning show prepulse inhibition (PPI) deficits which are thought to model the sensorimotor gating deficits seen in schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. We have previously reported that ten cohorts of Lister Hooded rats reared in isolation showed robust and reliable PPI deficits.


Our methodology differed from those used by others (Weiss and Feldon in Psychopharmacology 156(2-3):305-326, 2001), most notably in the weaning of pups at postnatal day (PND) 28 compared with PND20-22. Since our initial report, we have studied 18 more cohorts weaned at PND28 and one cohort weaned at PND21.


At weaning, male Lister Hooded pups were singly (isolates) or group (n=5) housed (grouped). Eight weeks later, startle and PPI responses of isolates and grouped rats were investigated using conditions of fixed inter-stimulus interval (ISI) (pulse=110 dB/50 ms; prepulse (PP)=75-80 dB/30 ms; ISI=100 ms).


Isolates from 14 of the subsequent 18 cohorts demonstrated PPI deficits, giving an overall success rate of 86% for all 28 cohorts. %PPI ranged from 12 to 26% in the isolates and from 26 to 47% in the grouped for the successful cohorts, compared to 16-30% (isolates) and 19-35% (grouped) for those that failed. Only five out of the 19 subsequent cohorts demonstrated startle hyperreactivity, which was unrelated to PPI response. The isolates from the cohort weaned at PND21 did not show a significant deficit in PPI, suggesting, in our hands at least, a requirement for weaning at PND28.


The data presented here reinforce our original findings that isolation-rearing of Lister Hooded rats provides a viable, non-pharmacological model of impaired PPI.

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