Vasopressin (VP) plays an important role in hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis regulation and in stress-related disorders. Our previous studies confirmed the role of VP in acute situations, where VP-deficient Brattleboro rats had less depression-like behaviour compared to animals that express VP. In this study, we test the hypothesis that VP-deficient rats are more resistant to the development of chronic HPA axis hyperactivity and depression-like symptoms after chronic unpredictable stress (CUS).Male VP-deficient Brattleboro rats were compared to their heterozygous littermates (controls). CUS consisted of different mild stimuli for 5 weeks. Elevated plus maze and forced swim test were used for behavioural characterization, while organs and blood for HPA axis parameters were collected at the end of the experiment.In controls, CUS resulted in the development of chronic stress state characterized by typical somatic (body weight reduction, thymus involution) and endocrine changes (resting plasma ACTH and corticosterone elevation and POMC mRNA elevation in anterior lobe of the pituitary). Floating time in the forced swim test was enhanced together with reduced open arm entries on elevated plus maze and a reduction in daily food intake. Unexpectedly, the lack of VP did not alter the effect of CUS on the somatic and behavioural measures, but only prevented CUS-induced corticosterone changes.In conclusion, lifelong VP-deficiency has a positive effect on corticosterone elevation following CUS but does not affect the behavioural consequences of CUS. It is likely that the interplay of several related factors, rather than an alteration in a single neuropeptide, modulates behaviour and disease pathogenesis.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Brain Research Bulletin|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 15 2011|
- Elevated plus maze
- Forced swim
ASJC Scopus subject areas