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Horm Behav. 2011 Nov;60(5):478-83. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.07.015. Epub 2011 Jul 30.

Conserved features of chronic stress across phyla: the effects of long-term stress on behavior and the concentration of the neurohormone octopamine in the cricket, Gryllus texensis.

Author information

1
Dept Psychology/Neuroscience Institute, 1459 Oxford St, Dalhousie Univ., Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 4R2. sadamo@dal.ca

Abstract

Many of the deleterious effects of chronic stress in vertebrates are caused by the long-term elevation of stress hormones. These negative effects are thought to be unavoidable by-products of sustained activation of the stress response, but the details remain unclear. A comparative perspective may help in understanding chronic stress. We exposed crickets (Gryllus texensis) to a mock predator. A single exposure to a mock predator induced a transient increase in the hemolymph (blood) concentration of the insect stress neurohormone, octopamine. Repeated exposure to the mock predator increased basal levels of octopamine, similar to the effects of chronic stress on the basal levels of vertebrate stress hormones. This study is the first to report an increase in the basal levels of an invertebrate stress hormone in response to repeated flight-or-fight stress. Chronic stress reduced weight gain, and decreased feeding and enhanced weight loss after food deprivation in adult female crickets. However, chronic stress also increased the tendency of crickets to produce sustained flight. Therefore, this study supports the hypothesis that increasing basal levels of stress hormones may be a phylogenetically common response to chronically stressful conditions. It also demonstrates that chronic stress has both positive and negative effects in insects.

PMID:
21824475
DOI:
10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.07.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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