Alfonso Abizaid

Alfonso Abizaid

Carleton University

Alfonso's lectures

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CAN-ACN 2021

1-E-99 - Chronic stress & metabolism in females: evaluating two novel models of female social defeat stress


Andrea Smith¹, Lindsay Hyland¹, Bethany Watts¹, Hiyam Al Ansari¹, Miski Dahir¹, Aleyna Akgun¹, Zachary Silver¹, Alfonso Abizaid¹

¹Carleton University


Social defeat is a preclinical model to study the effects of chronic psychosocial stress in rodents, as it recapitulates many stress-induced pathologies observed in humans, including metabolic changes. This model, however, is based off male territorial aggression that is not applicable to female rodents. To investigate how females respond to psychosocial stress, we tested two adaptations to the social defeat paradigm to study the effect of chronic stress on metabolism in females. In the first paradigm, fighting females, a female and castrated male CD-1 are cohoused for several days, priming the CD-1 female to display territorial behaviors towards an intruding C57 female mouse. In the second paradigm, non-discriminatory social defeat, we introduced a C57 male and female simultaneously to a CD-1 male mouse. The intruding male provokes territorial aggression towards both the male and female mice. We tested both paradigms for 21-days and gave mice access to chow and a high fat diet, ad lib. Females in the non-discriminatory model displayed changes to hormone levels and metabolism commonly associated with chronic stress. These mice increased their consumption of the standard chow diet, high in carbohydrates, when stressed and had elevated ghrelin and corticosterone levels. Females from the fighting female's paradigm, however, did not display the same markers of chronic stress. Our results highlight discrepancies in the magnitude of stress elicited by each paradigm, with the second paradigm inducing metabolic changes in females commonly observed in males following social defeat.


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