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Right hippocampal atrophy in maternally separated rat pups


, : Right hippocampal atrophy in maternally separated rat pups. Society for Neuroscience Abstract Viewer & Itinerary Planner : Abstract No 755 12

The HC has been demonstrated to undergo atrophy in patients suffering from major depressive disorder. We wished to test whether this phenomenon could be replicated in a maternal separation animal model of stress and depression. Sprague-Dawley rat pups assigned to the maternal separation (MS) group (n=28) were removed from their dams for three hours on each of postnatal days 4-21. Control rat pups (n=30) remained in home cage with no handling until weaning. Pups in both groups were weaned on day 22 and on day 24/25 the pups were weighed and decapitated. The total brain weight and weight for both left (LHC) and right (RHC) hippocampal formations were recorded. No significant difference in total brain weight was observed between the two groups. The RHC (mean 0.0485g, SD= 0.0046) from the MS group showed a significant decrease in mass compared to that of the control animals (mean 0.0521g, SD= 0.0058) (p=0.014). Although the difference between the mass of the LHC in MS animals (mean 0.0504g, SD= 0.0047) and that of control animals (mean 0.0532g, SD= 0.0060), did not reach significance, it showed a definite trend towards atrophy in the MS animals (p=0.057). This difference was retained after correcting for total brain weight. This model may permit the testing of interventions that might prevent hippocampal atrophy associated with depression.

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