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Multiple Simultaneous Acute Stresses in Mice: Single or Repeated Induction.


Stress is crucial to the survival of an organism, but excessive stress can lead to psychological disorders including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidality. The prevailing notion is that chronic stress promotes adverse outcomes on brain and body health, whereas acute stressors are generally benign. Notably, acute events such mass shootings or natural disasters are now emerging as significant sources of cognitive and emotional problems including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These events are characterized by the simultaneous occurrence of physical, emotional, and social stresses, which last minutes to hours. Hence, there is a need to model such multiple concurrent acute stresses (MAS) to uncover the mechanisms by which they lead to profound adverse outcomes. The MAS paradigm described here involves simultaneously exposing a rodent to several different stressors including restraint, crowding, and jostling alongside peers in a brightly lit and very noisy environment. Moreover, the MAS paradigm can be used once or imposed repeatedly to emulate complex, repeated modern life stresses, advancing our mechanistic understanding of consequent mental and cognitive impairments.

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