Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Do alpha-2 adrenoceptors modify coping strategies in rats?

  • 23 Accesses

  • 10 Citations

Abstract

Previous research has shown that resident rats treated with α2 adrenoceptor blockers display a modified aggressive response towards intruding animals. In the present study we report data on the behavioral changes induced by α2 adrenoceptor blockers in intruder animals. In experiments 1 and 2 intruders smaller in body weight than the residents were treated with 0.0, 0.5, and 1.0 mg/kg CH-38083 and idazoxan, respectively; in experiment 3 weight matched intruders were injected with 1 mg/kg CH-38083 or idazoxan. The treatment of smaller intruders did not change the behavior of residents. In contrast, weight-matched intruders injected with α2 adrenoceptor blockers elicited increased aggression in residents. Social behaviors, exploration and offensive aggression showed insignificant variation in intruders. Defensive behaviors, in contrast, showed major changes: in experiments 1 and 2 a dose-dependent decrease in immobility and a dose-dependent increase in defensive upright was noticed. In experiment 3, high scores of defensive upright were apparent, precluding detection of drug-induced changes. However, when the last 5 min of the encounter were analysed separately, results similar to the first two experiments were observed. Significant negative correlations were found between immobility and defensive upright scores. The results suggest that α2 adrenoceptor blockers induce a shift from a passive (immobility) towards a more active (defensive upright) coping style. These and previous data show that α2 adrenoceptor blockers, other than yohimbine, seem to exert a behavior-activating effect in rats.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bell R, Hepper PG (1987) Catecholamines and aggression in animals. Behav Brain Res 23:1–21

  2. Benus RF, Bohus B, Koolhaas JM, Van Oortmerssen GA (1991) Heritable variation for aggression as a reflection of individual coping strategies. Experientia 47:1008–1019

  3. Blanchard RJ, Yudko EB, Rodgers RJ, Blanchard DC (1993a) Defence system psychopharmacology: an ethological approach to the pharmacology of fear and anxiety. Behav Brain Res 58:155–165

  4. Blanchard RJ, Taukulis HK, Rodgers RJ, Magee LK, Blanchard DC (1993b) Yohimbine potentiates active defensive responses to threatening stimuli in Swiss-Webster mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 44:673–681

  5. Bohus B, Koolhaas JM, Heijnen CJ, de Boer O (1993) Immunological responses to social stress: dependence on social environment and coping abilities. Neuropsychobiology 28:95–99

  6. Cutler MG (1993) Comparison of the effects of yohimbine and clonidine on the behaviour of female mice during social encounters in an “approach-avoidance” situation. Neuropharmacology 32:411–417

  7. Edens FW (1987) Agonistic behavior and neurochemistry in grouped Japanese quail. Comp Biochem Physiol A 86:473–479

  8. Ferrari F, Cassinadri M, Tartoni PL, Tampieri A (1991) Effects of B-HT 920 in the tail-suspension test. Pharmacol Res 24:75–81

  9. Guy AP, Gardner CR (1985) Pharmacological characterisation of a modified social interaction model of anxiety in the rat. Neuropsychobiology 13:194–200

  10. Haemisch A (1990) Coping with social conflict, and short-term changes of plasma cortisol titers in familiar and unfamiliar environments. Physiol Behav 47:1265–1270

  11. Haller J (1993) Adrenomedullar catecholamine liberation and carbohydrate metabolism during the first 30 minutes of an aggressive encounter in rats. Physiol Behav 54:195–197

  12. Haller J (1995a) Catecholamine stimulation and the response to behavioral challenge in Wistar rats” Pharmacol Biochem Behav, (in press)

  13. Haller J (1995b) Alpha-2 adrenoceptor blockade and the response to intruder aggression in Long-Evans rats. Physiol Behav (in press)

  14. Haller J, Barna I, Kovács JL (1994) Alpha-2 adrenoceptor blockade, pituitary-adrenal hormones, and agonistic interactions in rats. Psychopharmacology 115:478–484

  15. Harsing LG Jr, Vizi ES (1991) Evidence that two stereochemically different alpha-2 adrenoceptors modulate norepinephrine release in rat cerebral cortex. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 256:44–49

  16. Kacsoh B, Opp JS, Crowley WR, Grosvenor CE (1993) Interaction between the alpha 2-adrenergic system and nursing in the regulation of growth hormone secretion in the neonatal rat. Acta Endocrinol 128:184–191

  17. Kemble ED, Behrens M, Rawleigh JM, Gibson BM (1991) Effects of yohimbine on isolation-induced aggression, social attraction, and conspecific odor preference in mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 40:781–785

  18. Levine ES, Litto WJ, Jacobs BL (1990) Activity of cat locus coeruleus noradrenergic neurons during the defense reaction. Brain Res 531:189–195

  19. Marca S La, Dunn RW (1994) The alpha-2 antagonists idazoxan and rauwolscine but not yohimbine or piperoxan are anxiolytic in the Vogel lick-shock conflict paradigm following intravenous administration. Life Sci 54:179–184

  20. Matsumoto K, Cai B, Satoh T, Ohta H, Watanabe H (1991) Desipramine enhances isolation-induced aggressive behavior in mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 39:167–170

  21. Mogilnicka E; Zazula M (1986) Interaction between beta-adrenoceptor agonists and alpha 1-adrenergic system. A behavioral study with the clonidine-induced aggression test. Pol J Pharmacol Pharm 38:529–534

  22. Poncet MF, Damase-Michel C, Tavernier G, Tran MA, Berlan M, Montastruc JL, Montastruc P (1992) Changes in plasma catecholamine and neuropeptide Y levels after sympathetic activation in dogs. Br J Pharmacol 105:181–183

  23. Portillo M, Reverte M, Langin D, Senard JM, Tran MA, Berlan M, Montastruc JL (1991) Effect of a 7-day treatment with idazoxan and its 2-methoxy derivative RX 821002 on alpha 2-adrenoceptors and non-adrenoceptor idazoxan binding sites in rabbits. Br J Pharmacol 104:190–194

  24. Sachser N (1990) Social organization, social status, behavioral strategies and endocrine responses in male guinea pigs. In: Balthazart J (ed) Hormones, brain and behaviour in vertebrates. 2. Behavioural activation in males and females- social interaction and reproductive endocrinology. Karger, Basel, pp 176–197

  25. Scholtens J, Roozen M, Mirmiran M, Van de Poll NE (1990) Role of noradrenaline in behavioral changes after defeat in male and female rats. Behav Brain Res 36:199–202

  26. Singh J, Chowdhury S, Maiti BR (1982) Adrenomedullary hormonal stimulation and hyperglycaemia following intermale aggression in the bandicoot rat. Endocrinologie 80:347–349

  27. Ursin H, Olff M (1993) Psychobiology of coping and defence strategies. Neuropsychobiology 2:66–71

  28. Vizi ES, Harsing LG Jr, Gaal J, Kapocsi J, Bernath S, Somogyi GT (1986) CH-38083, a selective, potent antagonist of alpha-2 adrenoceptors. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 238:701–706

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to J. Haller.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Haller, J., Kiem, D.T. & Makara, G.B. Do alpha-2 adrenoceptors modify coping strategies in rats?. Psychopharmacology 122, 379–385 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02246270

Download citation

Key words

  • Aggression
  • α2 Adrenoceptors
  • Catecholamines
  • Coping
  • Rats
  • Idazoxan
  • CH-38083