The goal of this study was to evaluate a novel stress-induced animal model in both male (n=28) and female (n=28) Sprague-Dawley rats. Stress was induced during adolescence by exposing the rats to standard social enrichment following a period of high* social enrichment (*frequent handling and playdates with 12 same sex non-cagemates). High Performance Liquid Chromatography was used to evaluate monoamine levels in post-mortem tissue from cortical structures (prefrontal cortex, motor cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex) and from subcortical structures (amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, lateral thalamus, medial thalamus, dorsal striatum, ventral striatum). Overall, results showed that monoamine levels were lower in the rats that experienced a transition from high to standard social enrichment. Better understanding of the neurophysiological consequences of a sudden removal of social enrichment (such as experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic) has important translational value for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
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Lichtenstein, Rachel; Feehan, Spencer; and Robson, Hailey, "Effects of Sudden Removal of High Social Enrichment upon Monoamine Levels in Cortical and Subcortical Structures of the Rat Brain" (2023). Research Days Posters 2023. 52.