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Physiol Behav. 2001 Jan;72(1-2):29-35.

The effects of acute and chronic stress on motor and sensory performance in male Lewis rats.

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1
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada. gerlinde.metz@uleth.ca

Abstract

Any behavioral testing induces stress to some degree. A meaningful interpretation of behavioral results can be difficult if stress, caused by handling or the testing situation, modifies the experimental outcome. Especially for neurological animal models, it is important to know how stress affects motor and sensory performance. Therefore, we investigated the effects of varying degrees of stress on several motor and sensory tasks that are frequently used to assess functional recovery after lesion-induced impairments in adult rats. Acute, subchronic, and chronic stress impaired ladder walking and prolonged the duration of grasping a bar. Stress also altered walking patterns by increasing the base of support and foot rotation and reducing stride length. Furthermore, chronic stress induced hypersensitivity to painful stimuli, but did not significantly influence the latency to remove sticky papers from the hindpaws (sticky paper test). In the light--dark (L/D) test, stress reduced the latency to enter the dark compartment and enhanced the number of transitions supporting that cold swim stress modifies the animal's level of anxiety. These data point towards a critical influence of acute or chronic stress on motor control and sensory performance of rats, suggesting that stress might be a critical intervening variable of the outcome of behavioral tests.

PMID:
11239978
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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