Rodent models provide valuable insight into mechanisms that underlie vulnerability to adverse effects of early-life challenges. Few studies have evaluated sex differences in anxiogenic or depressogenic effects of adolescent social stress in a rodent model. Furthermore, adolescent stress studies often use genetically heterogeneous outbred rodents which can lead to variable results. The current study evaluated the effects of adolescent social stress in male and female inbred (BALB/cJ) mice. Adolescent mice were exposed to repeat cycles of alternating social isolation and social novelty for 4 weeks. Adolescent social stress increased anxiety-related behaviors in both sexes and depression-related behavior in females. Locomotion/exploratory behavior was also decreased in both sexes by stress. Previously stressed adult mice produced less basal fecal corticosteroids than controls. Overall, the novel protocol induced sex-specific changes in anxiety- and depression-related behaviors and corticoid production in inbred mice. The chronic variable social stress protocol used here may be beneficial to systematically investigate sex-specific neurobiological mechanisms underlying adolescent stress vulnerability where genetic background can be controlled.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Developmental Biology
- Behavioral Neuroscience