Effects of chronic mild stress on serum complement activity, saccharin preference, and corticosterone levels in Flinders lines of rats.
Complement proteins and fragments participate in the induction and modulation of specific and nonspecific immune reactions. We have examined the effect of 4 weeks of chronic mild stress (CMS) on complement sheep red blood cell hemolytic activity measured in CH50 units in two selectively bred lines of rats, the Flinders resistant line (FRL) and the Flinders sensitive line (FSL), that differ in cholinergic sensitivity and behavioral characteristics. Additionally, CMS-induced hedonic deficit (decreased preference for 0.02% saccharin over water) and serum corticosterone levels were compared in FRL and FSL rats. CMS caused a significantly (p < 0.01) greater decline in CH50 responses in FSL (-15%) than in FRL (-7%) rats. This was accompanied by a significant (p < 0.01) suppression of saccharin preference over a 24 h period in both FRL and FSL rats. Both lines showed a similar, more than 2-fold (p < 0.01) increase in corticosterone levels following CMS. These results further confirm that CMS induces a depressive-like state in rats as well as the validity of the FSL rat as a genetic model of depression. They also indicate that the effect of stress on the immune system can be monitored by measuring the complement CH50 response.
Ayensu, WK; Pucilowski, O; Mason, GA; Overstreet, DH; Rezvani, AH; Janowsky, DS
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