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SHORT-TERM SOCIAL ISOLATION DOES NOT REDUCE ELEVATED PLUS-MAZE EXPLORATION IN EARLY PROTEIN MALNOURISHED RATS

Sebastião de Sousa Almeida, Marielena de Araújo, Gabriela M. S. Moreira, Rodrigo V. F. Paiva, Luiz Marcellino de Oliveira

Resumo

An increased number of visits and time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus-maze by malnourished rats has been used as indicative of lower anxiety or impulsiveness. In order to study how this behavior profile responds to an anxiogenic procedure (short-term social isolation), control (16% protein) and malnourished (6% protein) rats were socially isolated prior to the test in the maze. Litters (dam plus 6 male 2 female pups) were fed the diets from birth to 49 days of age. From 50 days on, all rats were fed a lab chow diet. Social isolation consists in removing the rats from the group and placing in individual cages for 2h before the test. During the test each rat was individually placed on the center of the maze and allowed to explore for 5 min. The results showed higher open arms exploration and lower attempts to enter open arms by the malnourished rats than by the controls. Social isolation decreased open arm exploration and increased time spent on the central platform in control animals, but had no effect on the malnourished rats. The results reinforce the lower anxiety or higher impulsiveness of malnourished rats, as well as the anxiogenic effect of social isolation in control rats. However, the malnourished rats were unresponsive to the anxiogenic effects of social isolation, indicating that protein deficiency early in life not only induces lower anxiety or higher impulsiveness in the maze, but also changes the behavior of these animals in response to another environmentally-induced procedure of anxiety (social isolation).

Keywords: Early protein malnutrition, Social isolation, Anxiety, Impulsiveness, Stress, Rats. 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18542/rebac.v10i2.3473