Social stability attenuates the stress in the modified multiple platform method for paradoxical sleep deprivation in the rat

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Suchecki, D.
Tufik, S.
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The instrumental methods to induce paradoxical sleep (PS) deprivation are stressful. the modified multiple platform method (MMPM), in which animals are placed with new cohorts inside the water tanks, results in augmented ACTH and corticosterone (CORT) responses. We hypothesised that this increased response could be attributed to social instability. in addition, we tested a new environmental control, a grid (GR) placed on the tank floor. Animals were submitted to the MMPM for 4 days as socially unstable (UG-coming from several cages) or stable groups (SG-coming from one cage), placed either on narrow platforms or on the grid. All UG animals presented higher ACTH levels than their SG counterparts, including home-cage controls. CORT levels of manipulated animals were higher than controls only in the stable group. UG animals presented heavier adrenals than their SG counterparts. Only adrenals from SG animals placed on the grid were similar to cage controls. SG rats lost less weight than UG animals. While UG animals ate the same amount of chow as home-cage controls, SG animals ate more than control and UG animals. These results suggest that the stress of the MMPM can be attenuated in stable groups. the introduction of a grid on the tank floor may serve an adequate environmental control as far as stress related variables are considered. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
Physiology & Behavior. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V., v. 68, n. 3, p. 309-316, 2000.