Strain differences in sucrose preference and in the consequences of unpredictable chronic mild stress

Stéphanie Pothion, Jean-Charles Bizot, Fabrice Trovero, Catherine Belzung
Behavioural Brain Research 2004 November 5, 155 (1): 135-46
Effects of unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) on anhedonic-like behaviour, physical state, body weight, learning and memory were investigated in three strains of mice. These strains were chosen among 11 strains that were tested in a first experiment for their sucrose consumption and preference for sucrose solutions of different concentrations. In the second experiment, groups of mice of the CBA/H, C57BL/6 and DBA/2 strains were submitted to 7 weeks of UCMS. Measures of the sucrose consumption, the evaluation of the physical state and the measurement of body weight were weekly assessed. Following 4-week period of UCMS, sub-groups of stressed and non-stressed mice were submitted to the spontaneous alternation test in the Y-maze, and then to the water-maze test for spatial learning and memory. UCMS induced a significant decrease of the sucrose consumption in CBA/H and in C57BL/6 but not in DBA/2 mice. The UCMS effect on sucrose intake in CBA/H mice was associated with a body weight loss and a physical state degradation. Spatial learning in a water maze was not disturbed by UCMS, however, a long-term memory impairment was observed in CBA/H stressed mice during a probe test. In the Y-maze, UCMS did not modify spontaneous alternation. These results show both an anhedonic-like and an amnesic effect of UCMS in CBA/H mice. They also reveal a difference of sensitivity to UCMS according to the strain of mice.

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