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Divergent Metabolic Effects of Acute Versus Chronic Repeated Forced Swim Stress in the Rat

Journal article
Authors Cristina Rabasa-Papio
Kaisa Askevik
Erik Schéle
Min Hu
Heike Vogel
Suzanne L. Dickson
Published in Obesity
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 427-433
ISSN 1930-7381
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Pages 427-433
Language en
Keywords food-intake, gene-expression, repeated immobilization, messenger-rna, body-weight, restraint, exposure, receptors, tissue, women
Subject categories Physiology


Objective This study sought to examine divergence regarding the impact of acute versus chronic repeated stress on energy balance. Methods Rats were exposed to either chronic repeated forced swim (FS) stress for 7 days or an acute stress (a single FS). Body weight and food intake were measured daily. Metabolic parameters explored included brown adipose tissue (BAT) weight and activity. Results Chronic repeated FS stress decreased body weight and caloric efficiency. It also increased the relative weight of BAT. The same stressor delivered only once did not alter adrenal or BAT weight, but it did increase the metabolic activity of BAT. In stress-naive rats, acute FS stress induced an anorexigenic response during the first day after the stressor that caused a reduction in body weight (that persisted for 4 days). By contrast, the chronic FS rats did not show an anorexigenic response after the final stressor, and there was no change in body weight during the following 4 days. Conclusions Rats exposed to chronic repeated FS stress adapt to the stressor over time; they become less sensitive to its anorexigenic effects and its metabolic effects in BAT, adaptations that ultimately reduce sensitivity to the weight-lowering effects of an acute stressor.

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