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Pair-Housing Rats Does Not Protect From Behavioral Consequences of an Acute Traumatic Experience


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extremely debilitating disease with a broad array of associated symptoms, making the disorder difficult to diagnose and treat. In humans, patients seem to benefit from group therapy or other means of promoting social behavior. To test these effects on our rodent model of PTSD, adult, male rats were housed in either single or pair conditions prior to and during an acute stressor to induce PTSD-like behaviors in these rats. Subsequently, rats were assessed for PTSD-like symptoms to determine the effect of social housing on stress-induced phenotypes. Posttrauma phenotypes, including enhanced fear conditioning and anxiety-related behavior, persisted regardless of the animal's housing condition. It is possible that any housing driven improvements to stress-induced phenotypes would require longer periods of pair housing than were used in these experiments. Although PTSD patients show improved health outcomes following social interaction or group therapy, the fear and anxiety phenotypes seen following an acute stressor in an animal model of the disease endured despite an animal's housing condition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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