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The effect of chronic mild stress on tumor-bearing rats’ behavior and its mechanism

Neuroscience Letters
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.06.031
  • Tumor
  • Depression
  • Chronic Mild Stress
  • Bcl-2
  • Erk1/2
  • Biology


Abstract Object: Much evidence has demonstrated that stress and tumor interact, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. The purpose of this study is to discuss the effect of unpredictable chronic mild stress (CMS) upon the behavior of Walker 256 tumor-bearing rats and its mechanism. Methods: Observe the effects of CMS on the sucrose consumption, activities, body weight and levels of serums TNF-α and IL-6 of both tumor-bearing rats and non-tumor-bearing rats, and on the levels of Bcl-2 and the phosphor-ERK1/2 in their hippocampus. Results: CMS can reduce the average sucrose consumption, behavioral scores, body weight gain, expression of Bcl-2 and p-ERK1/2 protein in hippocampus, and increase serums TNF-α and IL-6 of both tumor-bearing rats and non-tumor-bearing rats. The stressed tumor-bearing rats had less sucrose consumption, body weight gain and lower behavioral scores, but higher level of serum TNF-α than stressed non-tumor-bearing rats. A negative correlation was found between the levels of serum TNF-α and sucrose consumption, while a positive correlation between the expression of Bcl-2 protein in hippocampus proper and sucrose consumption. Conclusion: CMS can reduce the protein levels of Bcl-2 and p-ERK1/2 in the rats’ hippocampus, which contributes to the changes in the rats’ behavior caused by CMS. Tumor-bearing rats are prone to behave depressively after the exposure to CMS. Our findings have suggested that the tumor, by increasing the inflammatory reaction, can be taken as a stressor, affecting the hippocampus and consequently causing depression by decreasing the expression of Bcl-2 and p-ERK1/2 in hippocampus.

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