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Effects of social and physical stressors in Wistar and Wildtype Groningen rats on brain and behavior.

Waard, S.H. de (2016) Effects of social and physical stressors in Wistar and Wildtype Groningen rats on brain and behavior. Research Project 1 (minor thesis), Biology.

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Stress comes in many forms and is dependent on different factors. Partly because of this, there are also many different animal models to study it. Two of these models are the social defeat stress model and the immobilization stress model. These models are totally different in nature, but nevertheless, are both used in literature to explain stress related disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but also depression and anxiety disorders. Therefore, one of the goals of this study was to compare these two models with each other. To be able to do this, I compared the effects of both models on brain and behavior with each other. The animals used in this study were male rats of two different strains, Wildtype Groningen (WTG) and Wistar. In this way I was able to compare the two strains in terms of coping with and susceptibility to stress. Young adult male rats of both strains were either subjected to a single session of 1h social defeat stress (during which behavior was analyzed), 2h of immobilization stress or a control treatment. 10 days after this the animals were tested for anxiety on an elevated plus maze. The brains were analyzed for BDNF expression, but unfortunately, the results of this analysis proved to be unreliable. Blood samples during and shortly after the experiments were taken for corticosterone concentration measurement. Corticosterone values pointed out that WTGs showed a significantly higher and more prolonged corticosterone response than Wistars. However, this did not result in an increased anxiety on the maze of WTGs compared to the Wistars; the latter showed more anxiety, as well as during social defeat, so it can be said that Wistars are more prone to anxiety. It cannot be said that both stress models differ from each other, since there were no significant differences seen with the corticosterone values, and the brain analysis failed. In conclusion, these results show that WTGs and Wistars differ from each other in physiology and behavior when it comes to stress, and resilience to stress. These differences have to be taken into account when designing a study, in order to get valid results. No differences between the stress models with regard to corticosterone response and anxiety were pointed out in this study. Future research should investigate whether effects of these models on the brain are indifferent as well.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Project 1 (minor thesis))
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Research Project 1 (minor thesis)
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:26
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:26

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