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The serum glucose response to acute stress is sensitive to the intensity of the stressor and to habituation

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DOI: 10.1016/0306-4530(90)90059-i


Abstract The reliability of serum glucose concentrations as an index of habituation to chronic stress was evaluated in adult male rats. The glucose response to immobilization was attenuated by six days of previous chronic exposure to the same stressor, the degree of reduction being related to the duration (15 min, 1 hr or 4 hr) of the daily exposure to immobilization. In another experiment, three groups of rats were exposed to one of three stressors (handling plus change of room, restraint in tubes, or immobilization by wood boards), 1 hr daily for 27 days. On day 28, when faced with the same acute stressor to which they were chronically exposed, the rats showed a consistent reduction in glucose response, regardless of the type of stressor used. In addition, in stress-naive rats serum glucose levels were related to the intensity of the stressor as assessed by three independent measures (food intake, body weight changes, and adrenal weight after chronic exposure to the stressor). These data indicate that, under appropriate conditions, glucose levels can be a good index of both the intensity of acute stress experienced by the rats and their habituation to repeated stress.

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