Characterization of gene-environment interactions by behavioral profiling of selectively bred rats: The effect of NMDA receptor inhibition and social isolation

Zita Petrovszki, Gabor Adam, Gabor Tuboly, Gabriella Kekesi, Gyorgy Benedek, Szabolcs Keri, Gyongyi Horvath

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Gene-environment interactions have an important role in the development of psychiatric disorders. To generate and validate a new substrain of rats with signs related to schizophrenia, we used selective breeding after postweaning social isolation and chronic ketamine treatment through several generations of animals and compared the subsequent strain to naive rats that were not genetically manipulated. We further investigated whether social isolation and ketamine treatment augmented the appearance of schizophrenic-like signs in these rats. Four experimental groups were studied (n= 6-15 rats/group): naive rats without any treatment (NaNo); naive rats with postweaning social isolation and ketamine treatment (NaTr); 15th generation of selectively bred animals without any treatment (SelNo) or selectively bred rats with both isolation and ketamine treatment (SelTr). The startle reaction, tail-flick and novel object recognition tests were used to classify the animals into low- or high-risk for schizophrenia. Reduced pain sensitivity, higher degree of the startle reaction, disturbed prepulse inhibition, altered motor activity and decreased differentiation index in the memory test were observed in the 15th generation of the substrain, along with enhanced grooming behavior. Five functional indices (TF latency, startle reaction, prepulse inhibition, differentiation index, and grooming activity) were rated from 0 to 2, and the analysis of the summarized score revealed that the NaNo group had the lowest overall indication of schizophrenic-like signs, while the SelTr animals scored the highest, suggesting that both heritable and environmental factors were important in the generation of the behavioral alterations. We assume that further breeding after this complex treatment may lead to a valid and reliable animal model of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-145
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2013



  • Memory
  • Motor behavior
  • Pain
  • Prepulse inhibition
  • Schizophrenia
  • Selective breeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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