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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1996 Jul;21(5):441-53.

Behavioral reactivity to novelty during youth as a predictive factor of stress-induced corticosterone secretion in the elderly--a life-span study in rats.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Psychobiologie des Comportements Adaptatifs, INSERM U.259, UniversitĂ© de Bordeaux II, France. FDELLU@pluto.scripps.edu


Inter- and intra-individual differences in hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis activity and behavioral reactivity to novelty between young and old rats were evidenced in this longitudinal life-span study. Higher responders to novelty (HR) had a higher corticosterone secretion which showed a quicker increase with age than did the others (LR); the differences in response to novelty observed in youth were no longer apparent in the old rats. Response to novelty in youth is a predictive factor of accelerated aging of the HPA axis. These early changes, which precede the appearance of the memory deficits, may be a causal factor. Disappearance of behavioral and endocrinological inter-individual differences at 21 months highlights the importance of not restricting aging studies to old subjects.

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