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The effects of juvenile stress on anxiety, cognitive bias and decision making in adulthood: A rat model

Brydges, Nichola M., Hall, Lynsey, Nicolson, Rachael, Holmes, Megan C. and Hall, Jeremy 2012. The effects of juvenile stress on anxiety, cognitive bias and decision making in adulthood: A rat model. PLoS ONE 7 (10) , e48143. 10.1371/journal.pone.0048143

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Abstract

Stress experienced in childhood is associated with an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders in adulthood. These disorders are particularly characterized by disturbances to emotional and cognitive processes, which are not currently fully modeled in animals. Assays of cognitive bias have recently been used with animals to give an indication of their emotional/cognitive state. We used a cognitive bias test, alongside a traditional measure of anxiety (elevated plus maze), to investigate the effects of juvenile stress (JS) on adulthood behaviour using a rodent model. During the cognitive bias test, animals were trained to discriminate between two reward bowls based on a stimulus (rough/smooth sandpaper) encountered before they reached the bowls. One stimulus (e.g. rough) was associated with a lower value reward than the other (e.g. smooth). Once rats were trained, their cognitive bias was explored through the presentation of an ambiguous stimulus (intermediate grade sandpaper): a rat was classed as optimistic if it chose the bowl ordinarily associated with the high value reward. JS animals were lighter than controls, exhibited increased anxiety-like behaviour in the elevated plus maze and were more optimistic in the cognitive bias test. This increased optimism may represent an optimal foraging strategy for these underweight animals. JS animals were also faster than controls to make a decision when presented with an ambiguous stimulus, suggesting altered decision making. These results demonstrate that stress in the juvenile phase can increase anxiety-like behaviour and alter cognitive bias and decision making in adulthood in a rat model.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2019 23:17
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/79138

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