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Sex differences in the behavioural and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to contextual fear conditioning in rats
Daviu Abant, Núria (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Institut de Neurociències)
Andero Galí, Raul (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Institut de Neurociències)
Armario García, Antonio (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Departament de Biologia Cel·lular, de Fisiologia i d'Immunologia)
Nadal i Alemany, Roser (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Institut de Neurociències)

Date: 2014
Abstract: In recent years, special attention is being paid to sex differences in susceptibility to disease. In this regard, there is evidence that male rats present higher levels of both cued and contextual fear conditioning than females. However, little is known about the concomitant hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to those situations which is critical in emotional memories. Here, we studied the behavioural and HPA responses of male and female Wistar rats to context fear conditioning using electric footshock as the aversive stimulus. Fear-conditioned rats showed a much greater ACTH and corticosterone response than those merely exposed to the fear conditioning chamber without receiving shocks. Moreover, males presented higher levels of freezing whereas HPA axis response was greater in females. Accordingly, during the fear extinction tests, female rats consistently showed less freezing and higher extinction rate, but greater HPA activation than males. Exposure to an open-field resulted in lower activity/exploration in fear-conditioned males, but not females, suggesting greater conditioned cognitive generalization in males than females. It can be concluded that important sex differences in fear conditioning are observed in both freezing and HPA activation, but the two set of variables are affected in the opposite direction: enhanced behavioural impact in males, but enhanced HPA responsiveness in females. Thus, the role of sex differences on fear-related stimuli may depend on the variables chosen to evaluate it, the greater responsiveness of the HPA axis in females perhaps being an important factor to be further explored.
Note: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Hormones and behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Hormones and behavior, Vol. 66 No. 5 (Nov. 2014), p. 713-723
Note: Número d'acord de subvenció MINECO/2011-021
Note: Número d'acord de subvenció MINECO/SAF2011-28313
Note: Número d'acord de subvenció MSSSI/RD2012/0028/0014
Note: Número d'acord de subvenció ISCIII/RD12/0028/0014
Note: Número d'acord de subvenció AGAUR/2014/SGR-1020
Rights: Tots els drets reservats
Language: Anglès.
Document: article ; recerca ; acceptedVersion
Subject: ACTH ; Hormona alliberadora de corticotropina ; Anxiety ; Ansietat ; Corticosterone ; Corticosterona ; HPA Axis ; Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis ; Eix hipotalàmic-pituïtari-adrenal ; Sex Differences ; Diferències entre sexes
Published in: Hormones and behavior, Vol. 66 Núm. 5 (Nov. 2014) , p. 713-723, ISSN 0018-506X

DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.09.015

35 p, 995.9 KB

The record appears in these collections:
Research literature > UAB research groups literature > Research Centres and Groups (scientific output) > Health sciences and biosciences > Institut de Neurociències (INc)
Articles > Research articles
Articles > Published articles

 Record created 2014-10-24, last modified 2019-02-03

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