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Behavioral and neurobiological correlates of dominance ranking in mixed-sex colonies of wild-type rats

Boer, Antje Rixt de (2021) Behavioral and neurobiological correlates of dominance ranking in mixed-sex colonies of wild-type rats. Master's Research Project 1, Biomedical Sciences.


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Being in a dominance hierarchy can cause a lot of physical and psychosocial stress. Especially subordinates experience a lot of stress as they show the most detrimental behavioral, physiological and neurological changes. Chronic stress is known to decrease dendritic complexity and spine density of the hippocampus. However, a recent study found that dominants show a similar amount of decreased dendritic complexity of the CA3 region of the hippocampus, indicating that dominants might experience a similar amount of stress. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of chronic social stress on the spine density of apical CA3 dendrites of subordinate and dominant males. To test this, 36 male and 36 female Wild Type Groningen (WTG) rats were divided into 12 colonies of 4 male and 4 female rats and placed into a visible burrow system, i.e.; a semi-natural environment for social hierarchy. Behavioral and physiological indices of stress were measured and the spine density of the dominant and subordinate males were counted. Results show that subordinates spent less time in the burrows and had a bigger bodyweight loss. There was no difference in spine density and corticosterone levels between dominants and subordinates. Time spent in the arena and body weight loss suggest that subordinates are more stressed than dominant males, however, spine count showed no difference. In conclusion, this data could indicate that subordinate males might adapt to their situation which could save th

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Research Project 1)
Supervisor name: Buwalda, B. and Puentes-Escamilla, M.A.
Degree programme: Biomedical Sciences
Thesis type: Master's Research Project 1
Language: English
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2021 09:23
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2021 09:23

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