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Behav Brain Res. 2006 Apr 3;168(2):323-5.

Social isolation selectively reduces hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor without altering plasma corticosterone.

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Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy.


It is well known that housing conditions may alter several physiological and behavioral parameters. In this study, we have investigated whether a prolonged period of partial social isolation can modify central brain-derived neurotrophic (BDNF) concentrations. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were singly housed for 8 weeks before hippocampi, prefrontal cortices and striata were collected for BDNF determination. Compared to rats housed two per cage, isolated rats showed a significant reduction on BDNF protein concentrations in the hippocampus while no changes were observed in the other brain regions examined. Moreover, housing condition had no effect on basal plasma corticosterone. On the basis of the proposed etiological participation of reduced central BDNF concentrations in affective disorders, our results would candidate social isolation as a model for the study of antidepressant treatments.

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