Protracted effects of juvenile stressor exposure are mitigated by access to palatable food

Jennifer Christine MacKay, Jonathan Stewart James, Christian Cayer, Pamela Kent, Hymie Anisman, Zul Merali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Stressor experiences during the juvenile period may increase vulnerability to anxiety and depressive-like symptoms in adulthood. Stressors may also promote palatable feeding, possibly reflecting a form of self-medication. The current study investigated the short- and long-term consequences of a stressor applied during the juvenile period on anxiety- and depressive-like behavior measured by the elevated plus maze (EPM), social interaction and forced swim test (FST). Furthermore, the effects of stress on caloric intake, preference for a palatable food and indices of metabolic syndrome and obesity were assessed. Male Wistar rats exposed to 3 consecutive days of variable stressors on postnatal days (PD) 27-29, displayed elevated anxiety-like behaviors as adults, which could be attenuated by consumption of a palatable high-fat diet. However, consumption of a palatable food in response to a stressor appeared to contribute to increased adiposity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere96573
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


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