Housing familiar male wildtype rats together reduces the long-term adverse behavioural and physiological effects of social defeat

M.A.W. Ruis, B. Buwalda, S.F. de Boer, P. Meerlo, S.M. Korte, H.J. Blokhuis, J.M. Koolhaas

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Social stress in rats is known to induce long-lasting, adverse changes in behaviour and physiology, which seem to resemble certain human psychopathologies, such as depression and anxiety. The present experiment was designed to assess the influence of individual or group housing on the vulnerability of male Wildtype rats to long-term effects of inescapable social defeat. Group-housed rats were individually exposed to an aggressive, unfamiliar male conspecific, resulting in a social defeat. Defeated rats were then either individually housed or returned to their group. The changes in their behaviour and physiology were then studied for 3 weeks. Results showed that individually housed rats developed long-lasting, adverse behavioural and physiological changes after social defeat. Their body growth was significantly retarded (p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-300
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • psychopathology
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • animal model
  • resident-intruder paradigm
  • aggression
  • social stress
  • social conflict
  • social defeat
  • social isolation
  • social support
  • housing conditions
  • behavioral changes
  • open field behavior
  • elevated plus maze
  • DEX/CRF test
  • ACTH
  • corticosterone

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