Acta Med. 2003, 46: 153-156

Effects of Two Types of Restraint Stress on the Learned Behaviour in Rats

Pavel Šídaa, Marie Koupilováb, Sixtus Hyniea, Věra Klenerováa

aCharles University in Prague, First Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Prague, Czech Republic
bPurkyně Military Medical Academy in Hradec Králové, Department of Toxicology, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

Received May 1, 2003
Accepted June 1, 2003

To study the effects of stress on cognitive functions, Wistar and Lewis rats were exposed to restraint (immobilization stressor) (IMO) or restraint combined with partial immersion into water (IMO+C). Learned discriminatory avoidance response in Y-maze, with foot-shock as an unconditioned stimulus, was used as a memory test. The latency to enter the correct arm and number of wrong entries were daily recorded during the training period (20 days) until the criterion was reached, which was set at 90 % avoidances (choosing the correct arm). After exposure of rats to one of the stressors for 60 min, the rats were returned to the home cage; the latency to enter the safe arm was recorded in 6 daily trials that started 1 h after application of stressor. Both stressors significantly prolonged the avoidance latencies for 2 or 3 days in Wistar and Lewis rats, respectively; then the latencies returned to the values obtained before the stress exposure. In Lewis rats, the latencies more increased after IMO+C than after IMO stressor, and the maximal increase in latencies was higher in Lewis rats than in Wistar rats. The latency did not reach the time limit for foot-shock delivery, and the number of correct choices remained unchanged in both strains. The results indicate that the used restraint stressors did not affect the long-term memory; rather a transient impairment of retrieval can be considered. Further, differences in response of Lewis and Wistar rats may be interpreted by different activity of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in used strains.


This work was supported by grant from Ministry of Health of Czech Republic I-6627–3 and Institutional support MSM 1111 0000 1.


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