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Physiol Behav. 1996 Jul;60(1):129-34.

Decreased hedonic responsiveness following chronic mild stress is not secondary to loss of body weight.

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Department of Psychology, University of Wales Swansea, UK.


Chronic exposure to mild unpredictable stress (CMS) has previously been found to decrease hedonic responsiveness, as measured by the consumption of palatable sweet solutions or sensitivity to brain stimulation reward. These effects are reversed by chronic treatment with antidepressant drugs, and the CMS procedure has been proposed as a relatively valid animal model of depression. It has recently been suggested that the behavioural effects of CMS may be secondary to loss of body weight. This article collates data from five laboratories using the CMS procedure. Data are presented from seven studies using five different rat strains, as well as CD1 mice. Three-week exposure to CMS significantly decreased sucrose consumption by Lister hooded, PVG hooded, Wistar, and Wistar WU rats, and by CD1 mice, and sensitivity to brain stimulation reward in Ibm:Ro Ro rats. Weight loss in different experiments varied between 0 and 10%. Hedonic sensitivity relative to body weight (e.g., mg sucrose/g body weight) decreased significantly in all experiments. Animals maintained on a restricted feeding regime lost weight but did not show decreases in sucrose intake. It is concluded that decreased hedonic sensitivity following chronic mild stress cannot be attributed to loss of body weight.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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