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Genetic selection of an elevated plus-maze open arms by albino rats and its effect in emotion and learning.

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Thiago Marques de Brito
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Silvio Morato de Carvalho; Celio Roberto Estanislau; Geison Souza Izídio; Andreia Schmidt; Ricardo Luiz Nunes de Souza
Advisor: Silvio Morato de Carvalho

The genetic selection of behaviors related to an anxiety-like emotional component, associated to the study of the possible influences of this trait over other emotional components like fear, impulsivity and aversive learning, can contribute to the understanding of anxiety as well as supply a solid basis for its neurophysiological, biochemical and molecular investigation. Thus, the present work selected two strains of Wistar rats: one characterized by a high exploration of the open arms of an elevated plus-maze (Filô-HE) and another with a low exploration of these arms (Filô-LE), and compared the effects of such a selection on behaviors associated with anxiety, fear, impulsivity and aversive learning. For this, a batch of animals supplied by the animal house of the USP at Ribeirão Preto were distributed into two distinct groups: (1) one presenting more exploration of the open arms of an elevated plus-maze (EPM) Filô-HE and (2) one with less open arm exploration Filô-LE along twelve generations (from S1 to S12, not counting the initial group from which all generations derived). On the sixth, ninth and twelfth generations the animals were submitted to the following behavioral tests: LCE, open-field (only in the twelfth generation), passive avoidance, Morris aquatic maze (only in the twelfth generation), startle (which evaluates a fear response), and elevated aversion gradient (developed in our laboratory to measure impulsivity). The data indicated a selection of two Wistar rats strains with distinct characteristics concerning the exploration of the open arms of and EPM. On the one hand, the strain Filô-HE was selected exhibiting as the main characteristic high measures of exploration of environments which are usually avoided by other animals. On the other hand, the strain Filô-LE was selected (up to the eighth generation) exhibiting very little exploration of potentially dangerous environments. These results may be interpreted as, respectively, (a) low and high frequency of behaviors associated to anxiety and fear, (b) low and high frequency of behaviors associated to impulsivity, (c) high and low levels of difficulty in learning related to emotional memories, or (d) even the joint effect of all these behavioral characteristics. However, for a more reliable knowledge it is necessary that the studies above begin to explore neurophysiological, psychopharmacological, biochemical and genetic aspects, broadening the investigation ot hte selected emotional components, as well as promoting a more strict control of the selected traits and of its relations with other components that may interfere in the selection (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/17764-8 - Genetic selection through open arm exploration in albino rats and its effects on emotionality and learning
Grantee:Thiago Marques de Brito
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate