We tested the hypothesis that peripubertal anxiety levels are predictive of the detrimental effects of chronic stress on hippocampal-dependent spatial memory. The anxiety levels of peripubertal male Sprague-Dawley rats (43 days old) were characterized using open field and elevated plus mazes, followed by chronic restraint stress for 6 h/day/21 days beginning in young adulthood (75 days). Following chronic stress treatment, rats were tested on the spatial Y-maze using two inter-trial interval levels of difficulty (4 h: 1 day post-chronic stress; 1 min: 2 days post-chronic stress). As expected, all groups displayed intact spatial memory in the less difficult 1 min version of the Y-maze. However, in the 4 h version of the Y-maze, chronically stressed high anxiety rats showed impaired spatial memory, while chronically stressed low anxiety and control (low and high anxiety) rats displayed intact spatial memory. Moreover, a month after chronic stress ended, high anxiety rats had significantly higher basal corticosterone levels than low anxiety rats (control and stress). These results indicate that peripubertal anxiety and chronic stress interact to influence hippocampal-dependent spatial memory in adulthood.
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience