Vasopressin prolongs behavioral and cardiac responses to mild stress in young but not in aged rats

B. Buwalda, C. Nyakas, J. M. Koolhaas, P. G.M. Luiten, B. Bohus

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In young male Wistar rats sudden silence superimposed on low intensity background noise evokes a relative decrease in heart rate. This bradycardia is accompanied by immobility behavior. In the present study, involving young (3 month), late-adult (14 month), aged (20 month), and senescent (25 month) rats the magnitude of the stress-induced bradycardia shows an age-related reduction while the behavioral immobility response remained unchanged during the process of aging. Arginine-8-vasopressin (AVP, 6 μg/kg SC) administered 60 min prior to the experiment led to a prolonged behavioral and cardiac stress response in young and late-adult rats, but not in aged and senescent animals. The peripheral and central mechanisms possibly involved in the failure of systemically applied AVP to improve bradycardiac stress responses in aged rats are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1131
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1992



  • Aging
  • Autonomic responses
  • Bradycardia
  • Immobility behavior
  • Stress
  • Vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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