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1.  SENSORIMOTOR BEHAVIORAL TESTS FOR USE IN A JUVENILE RAT MODEL OF TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY: ASSESSMENT OF SEX DIFFERENCES 
Journal of neuroscience methods  2011;199(2):214-222.
Modeling juvenile traumatic brain injury (TBI) in rodents presents several unique challenges compared to adult TBI, one of which is selecting appropriate sensorimotor behavioral tasks that enable the assessment of the extent of injury and recovery over time in developing animals. To address this challenge, we performed a comparison of common sensorimotor tests in Long-Evans rats of various sizes and developmental stages (postnatal days 16–45, 35–190 g). Tests were compared and selected for their developmental appropriateness, scalability for growth, pre-training requirements, and throughput capability. Sex differences in response to TBI were also assessed. Grid walk, automated gait analysis, rotarod, beam walk, spontaneous forelimb elevation test, and measurement of motor activity using the force-plate actometer were evaluated. Grid walk, gait analysis, and rotarod failed to meet one or more of the evaluation criteria. Beam walk, spontaneous forelimb elevation test, and measurement of motor activity using the force-plate actometer satisfied all criteria and were capable of detecting motor abnormalities in rats subjected to controlled cortical impact on postnatal day 17. No sex differences were detected in the acute effects of TBI or functional recovery during the 28 days after injury using these tests. This demonstrates the utility of these tests for the evaluation of sensorimotor function in studies using rat models of pediatric TBI, and suggest that pre-pubertal males and females respond similarly to TBI with respect to sensorimotor outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2011.05.008
PMCID: PMC3142868  PMID: 21600923
Traumatic brain injury; juvenile; forelimb; hindlimb; actometer; beam walk; controlled cortical impact; sensorimotor
2.  DECREASED BRAIN DOCOSAHEXAENOIC ACID CONTENT PRODUCES NEUROBIOLOGICAL EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH DEPRESSION: INTERACTIONS WITH REPRODUCTIVE STATUS IN FEMALE RATS 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2008;33(9):1279-1292.
Summary
Decreased tissue levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3) are implicated in the etiologies of non-puerperal and postpartum depression. With the aim of determining neurobiological sequelae of decreased brain DHA content, this study examined the effects of a loss of brain DHA content and concurrent reproductive status in adult female Long-Evans rats. An α-linolenic acid-deficient diet and breeding protocols were used to produce virgin and parous female rats with cortical phospholipid DHA levels 23–26% lower than virgin and parous rats fed a control diet containing adequate α-linolenic acid. Parous dams were tested/euthanized at weaning (postnatal day 20) of the second litter; virgin females, during diestrus. Decreased brain DHA was associated with decreased hippocampal BDNF gene expression and increased relative corticosterone response to an intense stressor, regardless of reproductive status. In virgin females with decreased brain DHA, serotonin content and turnover in frontal cortex were decreased compared to virgin females with normal brain DHA. In parous dams with decreased brain DHA, the density of 5-HT1A receptors in the hippocampus was increased, corticosterone response to an intense stressor was increased, and the latency to immobility in the forced swim test was decreased compared to parous dams with normal DHA. These findings demonstrate neurobiological alterations attributable to decreased brain DHA or an interaction of parous status and brain DHA level. Furthermore, the data are consistent with findings in depressed humans, and thus support a role for DHA as a factor in the etiologies of depressive illnesses, particularly postpartum depression.
doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.06.012
PMCID: PMC2582014  PMID: 18707812
omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; serotonin 1A receptor; forced swim; postpartum; corticosterone

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