Water temperature determines neurochemical and behavioural responses to forced swim stress: an in vivo microdialysis and biotelemetry study in rats

ACE Linthorst, C Flachskamm, JMHM Reul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Forced swimming is a behavioural stress model increasingly used to investigate the neurocircuitry of stress responses. Although forced swim stress clearly is a psychological stressor (anxiety, panic), its physical aspects are often neglected. There are indications that behavioural and neurochemical responses to swim stress depend on the water temperature. Thus, we investigated the responsiveness of hippocampal serotonergic neurotransmission (important in the coordination of stress responses), and of behaviour and core body temperature to forced swimming at different water temperatures (19, 25 and 35°C). In vivo microdialysis and biotelemetry in freely-behaving rats were used. Dialysates were analysed for serotonin (5-HT) and its metabolite 5-HIAA (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid) by HPLC with electrochemical detection. Forced swimming in water at 25 and 19°C decreased core body temperature by 8 and 12°C, respectively. A rapid and pronounced increase in hippocampal 5-HT and 5-HIAA was found in rats that swam at 35°C, whereas biphasic responses in 5-HT and 5-HIAA were observed at 25 and 19°C. Also swim stress behaviour and post-stress home cage behaviour depended on the water temperature. Comparing the serotonergic and core body temperature changes revealed that a combination of two different 5-HT and 5-HIAA responses seems to shape the neurotransmitter response. Swimming-induced increases in hippocampal extracellular concentrations of 5-HT and 5-HIAA occurred at all water temperatures, but these increases were temporarily quenched, or concentrations were transistently decreased, when core body temperature fell below ∼31°C in water at 25 or 19°C. These data demonstrate that water temperature is a key factor determining the impact of forced swim stress on behaviour and neurochemistry, and underscore that changes in these parameters should be interpreted in the light of the autonomic responses induced by this stressor.
Translated title of the contributionWater temperature determines neurochemical and behavioural responses to forced swim stress: an in vivo microdialysis and biotelemetry study in rats
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88 - 100
Number of pages13
JournalStress
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

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