Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 204, Issue 6, pp 549–559 | Cite as

Corticosterone level and central dopaminergic activity involved in agile and exploratory behaviours in formosan wood mice (Apodemus semotus)

  • Kun-Ruey Shieh
  • Shu-Chuan Yang
Original Paper


The native Formosan wood mouse (Apodemus semotus) is the dominant rodent in Taiwan. In their natural environment, Formosan wood mice exhibit high locomotor activity, including searching and exploratory behaviours, which is observed similarly in the laboratory environment. How the behavioural responses of Formosan wood mice exhibit in elevated plus maze and marble burying tests remains unclear. How corticosterone levels and central dopaminergic activities are related to the behaviours in these tests is also unclear. This study compared the behaviours of Formosan wood mice with that of C57BL/6J mice using the elevated plus maze and marble burying tests, and measured the corticosterone levels and central dopaminergic activities. Formosan wood mice showed greater locomotor and exploratory activity than the C57BL/6J mice. Similarly, the marble burying and rearing numbers were higher for Formosan wood mice. High locomotor and exploratory behaviours were strongly correlated with corticosterone levels after acute mild restraint stress in Formosan wood mice. The anxiolytic, diazepam, reduced the high exploratory activity, corticosterone levels and central dopaminergic activities. The high locomotor and exploratory behaviours of Formosan wood mice are related to the corticosterone levels and central dopaminergic activities. These data may explain Formosan wood mice dominance in the intermediate altitude of Taiwan.


Glucocorticoid Locomotion Medial prefrontal cortex Striatum Taiwan wood mice 





3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid


Medial prefrontal cortex


Nucleus accumbens





We are grateful for the technical assistance from C. Y. Lee, R. J. Chen and the Laboratory Animal Center at Tzu Chi University. We would like to thank Editor-in-Chief, Professor Friedrich G. Barth, for his insightful comments, and Professors M. H. Wang and L. K. Lin for helpful comments. We would like to thank Ms. Natasha Tomicic for her help with language editing. This study was supported in part by Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan (103-2410-H-277-001 to SCY and 99-2320-B-320-011-MY3, 104-2320-B-320-005 and 105-2320-B-320-011-MY3 to KRS) and the Tzu Chi Foundation (TCRPP103015, TCRPP105002 and TCMRC-P-103007 to KRS). The funding agency had no role in experimental design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. All procedures and experimental protocols in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards and were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Tzu Chi University. The institutional guidelines were followed for the care and use of animals and conducted in accordance with the European Community Council Directive of 24th November 1986 (86/609/EEC).

Author contributions

KRS and SCY contributed to study concept and design, acquisition of data, research performance, statistical analysis, interpretation of data, and approval of the final version of the manuscript; SCY contributed to drafting of the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests related to this work.

Supplementary material

359_2018_1259_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (251 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 250 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyTzu Chi UniversityHualienTaiwan
  2. 2.Holistic Education CenterTzu Chi University of Science and TechnologyHualienTaiwan

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