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Neurobiol Aging. 1986 May-Jun;7(3):153-9.

Bidirectional responsiveness of the pituitary-adrenal system in old and young male and female rats.


Bidirectional responsiveness of the pituitary-adrenal system was examined in young adult (3-5 months) and old (24-26 months) male and female rats. In Experiment 1, an approach-avoidance conflict was created by exposing food- and water-deprived subjects to a flavored solution which had previously been paired with lithium chloride-induced illness in a conditioned taste aversion paradigm. Young and old males and young females elevated plasma corticosterone in response to deprivation; males showed a further elevation when reexposed to the solution, whereas young females did not. Old females did not exhibit a corticosterone elevation to deprivation or upon reexposure. In Experiment 2, water was restricted to a fixed period in the morning when corticosterone levels are typically low. Plasma corticosterone was measured before and after watering. Young and old males and young females reentrained their circadian corticosterone rhythm so that levels were elevated just prior to watering; consumption was followed by a drop in corticosterone. Old females failed to reentrain or to suppress corticosterone secretion upon drinking. These findings indicate that the lability of the pituitary-adrenal system is more markedly affected by senescence in females than in males.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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