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Physiol Behav. 1999 Apr;66(2):277-84.

Interactive effects of psychosocial stressors and gender on mouse mammary tumor growth.

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Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


We have previously demonstrated that social housing condition significantly affects the growth rate of the androgen-responsive Shionogi mouse mammary carcinoma (AR SC115) in male mice. The present study examined the effects of social housing condition and acute daily exposure to a novel environment on the growth rate of an androgen-independent variant of the AR SC115 carcinoma, designated SC115V, in male and female mice. Immediately following tumor cell injection, male and female mice that were reared as individuals (I) or in groups (G) of the same sex were rehoused either from individual to same-sex groups (IG) or from group to individual (GI), or remained in their group housing condition (GG). Approximately half the mice in each housing condition were subjected to acute daily exposure to novel environments (novelty stress), a treatment shown previously to increase the significant difference in tumor growth rates between male mice in the IG and GI housing conditions. The remaining mice were left undisturbed (no novelty stress). In the presence of acute daily novelty stress, the growth rate of the SC115V tumor was significantly increased in GI compared to IG males. However, no significant differences in SC115V tumor growth rates among nonstressed GI, IG, or GG males were observed. For females, in contrast to males, acute daily novelty stress significantly decreased tumor growth in GI compared to IG mice, whereas under nonstressed conditions, tumor growth rate was significantly increased in GI compared to IG females. Neither housing condition nor novelty stress altered estrous cyclicity, nor did the stage of the estrous cycle at the time of tumor cell injection influence tumor growth rates. These findings suggest that social housing condition and novelty stress may interact to produce differential effects on the growth rate of the SC115V tumor in male and female mice.

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