Exogenous daytime melatonin modulates response of adolescent mice in a repeated unpredictable stress paradigm
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The immediate and short-term behavioural and physiological implications of exposure to stressful scenarios in the adolescent period are largely unknown; however, increases in occurrence of stress-related physiological and psychological disorders during puberty highlight the need to study substances that may modulate stress reactivity during a crucial stage of maturation. Seven groups of mice (12–15 g each) were administered distilled water (DW) (non-stressed and stressed controls), sertraline (10 mg/kg), diazepam (2 mg/kg) or one of three doses of melatonin (5, 10 and 15 mg/kg). Mice were exposed to 30 min of chronic mild stress (25 min of cage shaking, cage tilting, handling and 5 min of forced swimming in tepid warm water at 25 °C, in a random order) after administration of DW or drugs, daily for 21 days. Behavioural assessments were conducted on day 1 and day 21 (after which mice were sacrificed, blood taken for estimation of corticosterone levels and brain homogenates used for estimation of antioxidant activities). Administration of melatonin resulted in an increase in horizontal locomotion and self-grooming, while rearing showed a time-dependent increase, compared to non-stress and stress controls. Working memory improved with increasing doses of melatonin (compared to controls and diazepam); in comparison to setraline however, working memory decreased. A dose-related anxiolytic effect is seen when melatonin is compared to non-stressed and stressed controls. Melatonin administration reduced the systemic/oxidant response to repeated stress. Administration of melatonin in repeatedly stressed adolescent mice was associated with improved central excitation, enhancement of working memory, anxiolysis and reduced systemic response to stress.
KeywordsAnxiety Memory Novelty-induced behaviours Chronic stress Neurohormone
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Source of funding
This research did not receive any specific grant from agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
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