The temporal dynamics of the stress response

J.M. Koolhaas, P Meerlo, S.F. de Boer, J.H. Strubbe, B.G.J. Bohus

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This paper summarises the available evidence that failure of defense mechanisms in (semi)-natural social groups of animals may lead to serious forms of stress pathology. Hence the study of social stress may provide animal models with a high face validity. However, most of the animal models of human stress-disorders have concentrated on the consequences of chronic exposure to stressors. The present paper considers recent data, indicating that a single experience with a major stressor in the form of social defeat may have long-term consequences ranging from hours to days and weeks. It seems that the experience of a major stressor sensitizes the animal to subsequent stressors. The consequences of these long-term temporal dynamics of the stress response to the development of stress-related disorders and stress-vulnerability are discussed. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-782
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • stress
  • stress response
  • stressor
  • stress pathology
  • psychopathology
  • depression
  • animal models
  • social stress
  • social defeat
  • temporal dynamics
  • stress sensitization
  • corticosterone

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