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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56105. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056105. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Increased drinking following social isolation rearing: implications for polydipsia associated with schizophrenia.

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Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.


Primary polydipsia, excessive drinking without known medical cause, is especially associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. We used animal models of schizophrenia-like symptoms to examine the effects on schedule-induced polydipsia: post-weaning social isolation rearing, subchronic MK-801 treatment (an NMDA-receptor antagonist) or the two combined. Male, Sprague-Dawley rats reared in groups or in isolation beginning at postnatal day 21 were further divided to receive subchronic MK-801 (0.5 mg/kg twice daily) or saline for 7 days beginning on postnatal day 62. Following a 4-day withdrawal period, all groups were trained on a schedule-induced polydipsia paradigm. Under food-restriction, animals reared in isolation and receiving food pellets at 1-min intervals developed significantly more drinking behavior than those reared with others. The addition of subchronic MK-801 treatment did not significantly augment the amount of water consumed. These findings suggest a predisposition to polydipsia is a schizophrenia-like behavioral effect of post-weaning social isolation.

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