Behavioral endophenotypes of chronic unpredictable stress

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Badenhorst, Cecilia
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : Universtiy of Lethbridge, Department of Neuroscience
Stress is the response to a perceived or real threat. Acute incidences of stress can be beneficial. However, repeated stress can cause maladaptive changes in brain and behavior leading to neuropsychiatric illnesses. Among publications on chronic stress, only recently has its effects on decision-making been identified. I have designed a competitive choice task (CCT) to measure changes in decision-making. Decision-making behaviors in this task are governed by the dorsal lateral striatum, ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortex. These behaviors that these structures mediate are lose-shift, win-stay, and extraneous feeder sampling, respectively. I find that chronic unpredictable stress increases win-stay behavior strategies, decreases extraneous feeder sampling and increases speed but does not affect lose-shift strategies. Chronic stress, therefore, increases activity within the ventral striatum and decreases activity within the medial prefrontal cortex.
Brain -- Effect of stress on -- Research , Brain -- Effect of stress on -- Animal models , Stress (Psychology) -- Research , Stress (Psychology) -- Animal models , Affective disorders -- Research , Affective disorders -- Animal models , Decision making , Animal models in research , Dissertations, Academic , chronic stress , competitive choice task , medial prefrontal cortex , stress disorders , ventral striatum