Interrelationship between Measures of Pain Reactions in Inflammation and Levels of Depression in Prenatally Stressed Rat Pups

  • V. A. Mikhailenko
  • I. P. Butkevich
  • E. A. Vershinina
  • P. O. Semenov

The interrelationship between measures of pain reactions (number of flexion + shaking patterns) in the formalin test and the level of depression (duration of immobility) in the forced swimming (Porsolt) test was studied in prenatally stressed rat pups aged 7–8 days. Two series of experiments were performed, with different sequences of tests separated by intervals of one day. In the first series of experiments, the Porsolt test was performed first; in the second series, the formalin test was performed before forced swimming. The sequence of tests was found to have different effects on measures of pain and depression and their correlation in prenatally stressed and unstressed rat pups. The effects of the sequence of the depression test (before or after the formalin test) on measures of depression were different in prenatally unstressed and stressed rat pups. In the former there were no differences between the two test sequences, while in prenatally stressed rat pups the first sequence showed a significant increase in the duration of immobility. The order of testing had no effect on the pain response – there were no differences between the numbers of flexion + shaking patterns in either prenatally stressed rat pups or unstressed animals; measures of the pain response were significantly greater in the sequence in which the formalin test was followed by the Porsolt test in prenatally stressed individuals as compared with unstressed animals. A positive correlation between study parameters was seen in the first series in prenatally unstressed rat pups, while there was a negative correlation in prenatally stressed animals. In the second series, there were no significant relationships between measures. Thus, the sequelae of postnatal stress, as imposed by each test the day before the final test, were apparent only in prenatally stressed animals in terms of the level of depression.

Key words

prolonged pain response formalin test Porsolt test prenatal and postnatal stress rat pups aged 7–8 days 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. A. Mikhailenko
    • 1
  • I. P. Butkevich
    • 1
  • E. A. Vershinina
    • 1
  • P. O. Semenov
    • 1
  1. 1.I. P. Pavlov Institute of PhysiologyRussian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia

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