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Papers of the Week

2023 Jan 21

Neurochem Res

Nine-month-long Social Isolation Changes the Levels of Monoamines in the Brain Structures of Rats: A Comparative Study of Neurochemistry and Behavior.



Social isolation (SI) is chronic psycho-emotional stress for humans and other socially living species. There are few comparative studies that have measured monoamine levels in brain structures in male and female rats subjected to SI. Existing data is highly controversial. In our recent study, we investigated behavioral effects of SI prolonged up to 9 months on a rather large sample of 69 male and female Wistar rats. In the present study, we measured the levels of monoamines-norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA), 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), and DA and 5-HT metabolites-in the brain structures of 40 rats from the same sample. The single-housed rats of both sexes showed hyperactivity and reduced reactivity to novelty in the Open Field test, and impaired passive avoidance learning. Regardless of their sex, by the time of sacrifice, the single-housed rats weighed less and had lower pain sensitivity and decreased anxiety compared with group-housed animals. SI decreased NE levels in the hippocampus and increased them in the striatum. SI induced functional activation of the DA-ergic system in the frontal cortex and hypothalamus, with increased DA and 3-methoxytyramine levels. SI-related changes were found in the 5-HT-ergic system: 5-HT levels increased in the frontal cortex and striatum, while 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid only increased in the frontal cortex. We believe that SI prolonged for multiple months could be a valuable model for comparative analysis of the behavioral alterations and the underlying molecular processes in dynamics of adaptation to chronic psychosocial stress in male and female rats in relation to age-dependent changes.