Kinetics and persistence of cardiovascular and locomotor effects of immobilization stress and influence of ACTH treatment.

PMID 18698126


Stress triggers crucial responses, including elevated blood pressure and heart rate (HR), to handle the emergency and restore homeostasis. However, continuation of these effects following cessation of the stress is implicated with many stress-related disorders. Here, we examine the kinetics and persistence of cardiovascular and locomotor responses to single and repeated immobilization stress (IMO), with and without prior treatment with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Radiotelemetry probes were implanted into male Sprague-Dawley rats to continually monitor mean arterial pressure (MAP), HR and locomotor activity. Rats were subjected to IMO for 2 h daily (10 a.m. to noon, 6 consecutive days). The first IMO induced the greatest change in MAP (about 30 mm Hg) and HR (about 200 bpm). Following each IMO, MAP and HR were elevated during the remaining light phase and in the subsequent dark phase, HR was lower than prior to IMO. We further examined whether elevation of ACTH to a level similar to IMO will elicit similar effects, and if it will alter subsequent responses to IMO. Injection of ACTH (13 IU/kg, s.c.) triggered a short-lived rise in MAP, and decreased HR. After six daily injections of ACTH and recovery time (8 days), rats were immobilized as above. The cardiovascular responses were similar during the IMO, but the ACTH-pretreated group displayed differences following cessation of the IMO. In addition, IMO led to a large reduction of locomotor activity during the dark (normally active) phase to levels similar to the light phase. Following the IMOs, locomotor activity recovered more slowly in the ACTH-pretreated group. The study revealed that IMO-triggered cardiovascular and locomotor responses are evident after termination of the stress. In addition, prior exposure to ACTH delayed recovery in cardiovascular and locomotor functions following cessation of stress.

Related Materials