Chronic stress is a risk factor for psychiatric illnesses, such as anxiety and depression disorders. To understand the underlying mechanism regarding how chronic stress triggers such psychiatric dysfunctions, restraint-based chronic stress models have been attempted in the past. However, total durations of repeated restraint stress and the evaluation time points used after the last restraint application vary from experiment to experiment. One reason for these methodological heterogeneities is related to considerable ambiguity concerning the definition of chronic stress, particularly in animal models. In the present study, we used behavioral traits, anxiety and depression, as stress-assessment parameters that meet operationally useful requirements for the definition of the chronic stress state. We demonstrate that restraint treatment for 2 or 8 hr daily for 14 days is enough to produce anxiety- and depression-like behaviors, whereas a 2 hr-10 days restraint was marginally effective. cDNA microarray analysis identified 34 genes in the hippocampus and 72 genes in the amygdala with expression levels that were up- or down-regulated by >2.0-fold. Among the wide range of genes identified in this analysis, genes required for energy metabolism, signal transduction, transcription, synaptic plasticity, and remodeling of the brain architecture were notable. Our results suggest that the psychiatric criteria of anxiety and depression can be used as chronic stress-assessment parameters and that a restraint stress paradigm consisting of restraint treatment for 2 or 8 hr daily for 14 days could be used as a prototype paradigm for chronic stress studies.
- Chronic restraint stress