Stressor experiences during the juvenile period may increase vulnerability to anxiety and depressive-like symptoms in adulthood. Stressors may also promote palatable feeding, possibly reflecting a form of self-medication. The current study investigated the short- and long-term consequences of a stressor applied during the juvenile period on anxiety- and depressive-like behavior measured by the elevated plus maze (EPM), social interaction and forced swim test (FST). Furthermore, the effects of stress on caloric intake, preference for a palatable food and indices of metabolic syndrome and obesity were assessed. Male Wistar rats exposed to 3 consecutive days of variable stressors on postnatal days (PD) 27-29, displayed elevated anxiety-like behaviors as adults, which could be attenuated by consumption of a palatable high-fat diet. However, consumption of a palatable food in response to a stressor appeared to contribute to increased adiposity.

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Journal PLoS ONE
MacKay, J.C. (Jennifer Christine), James, J.S. (Jonathan Stewart), Cayer, C. (Christian), Kent, P. (Pamela), Anisman, H, & Merali, Z. (Zul). (2014). Protracted effects of juvenile stressor exposure are mitigated by access to palatable food. PLoS ONE, 9(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096573