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J Neuroendocrinol. 2007 Aug;19(8):632-42.

Adaptation in the corticosterone and hyperthermic responses to stress following repeated stressor exposure.

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Behavioural Neuroscience Program, Department of Psychology, State University of New York, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA.


Previous studies have shown that repeated daily exposure to the same (homotypic) stressor results in habituation of the corticosterone (CORT) response. Others have found that the stress response to a more ethologically relevant stressor, social defeat, does not habituate and, in some cases, sensitisation has been observed. Similar observations have been noted when core temperature is examined. Although habituation and/or sensitisation have been reported during stressor exposure, little is known about the development of an anticipatory fever in response to daily stressor exposure. The aim of the present study was to compare systematically commonly used laboratory stressors (i.e. restraint, cage confinement and social defeat) using a common set of procedures and analyses. Specifically, we examined: (i) the development of an anticipatory fever to repeated (5 days) homotypic stressor exposure; (ii) the adaptation of the fever response during stressor exposure; and (iii) the resolution of the fever response to stressors presented at the same time each day. For comparison, adaptation of the CORT response was also examined to assess the degree to which habituation to repeated stressor exposure may represent a more general response observed across diverse physiological measures. Habituation was observed after restraint and cage confinement, but not observed in either the CORT or hyperthermic responses to repeated social defeat. Furthermore, no anticipatory fever response was observed with repeated exposure to restraint, cage confinement, or social defeat. These data suggest that habituation to repeated stressor exposure may not occur with all homotypic stressor paradigms. In addition, rats do not appear to entrain an anticipatory fever response to a stressor presented at the same time each day, at least not within 5-6 days of repeated exposure.

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