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Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2013 Mar;13(1):164-73. doi: 10.3758/s13415-012-0124-8.

Effects of acute restraint stress on set-shifting and reversal learning in male rats.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, Rm. 154, 9 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5A5, Canada.

Abstract

Exposure to acute stress alters cognition; however, few studies have examined the effects of acute stress on executive functions such as behavioral flexibility. The goal of the present experiments was to determine the effects of acute periods of stress on two distinct forms of behavioral flexibility: set-shifting and reversal learning. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained and tested in an operant-chamber-based task. Some of the rats were exposed to acute restraint stress (30 min) immediately before either the set-shifting test day or the reversal learning test day. Acute stress had no effect on set-shifting, but it significantly facilitated reversal learning, as assessed by both trials to criterion and total errors. In a second experiment, the roles of glucocorticoid (GR) and mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) in the acute-stress-induced facilitation of reversal learning were examined. Systemic administration of the GR-selective antagonist RU38486 (10 mg/kg) or the MR-selective antagonist spironolactone (50 mg/kg) 30 min prior to acute stress failed to block the facilitation on reversal learning. The present results demonstrate a dissociable effect of acute stress on set-shifting and reversal learning and suggest that the facilitation of reversal learning by acute stress may be mediated by factors other than corticosterone.

PMID:
23055093
PMCID:
PMC4457521
DOI:
10.3758/s13415-012-0124-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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