Matching Items (13)

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Rats' Rights: Common Misconceptions About Domestic Rats

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I conducted a literature review of articles pertaining to the history and treatment of rats. After outlining all of the relevant connections, I argue that as a result of people's

I conducted a literature review of articles pertaining to the history and treatment of rats. After outlining all of the relevant connections, I argue that as a result of people's conceptions about rats, rats do not receive the same respect and protections afforded other animals, such as cats and dogs, in the laboratory and beyond. I present both negative and positive conceptions about rats and the realities of these conceptions. Finally, I talk about the changes that need to take place in laboratory research, why animals are still used in research today, and the alternatives that exist to animal models.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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The Rewarding Effects of the Surface Area Occupied by Food in Rats

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Previous studies showed that rats preferred and also ran faster for multiple pellets than a single pellet of food. Here, we manipulated the rewarding effects of surface area occupied by

Previous studies showed that rats preferred and also ran faster for multiple pellets than a single pellet of food. Here, we manipulated the rewarding effects of surface area occupied by food pellets on preference and running speed of rats trained on a T-maze. Twenty-two male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to prefer one T-maze arm containing 30 food pellets scattered and the other arm with 30 pellets clustered. There was a significant preference for clustered food pieces over the scattered ones. The choice of the clustered food pieces may be explained by the optimal foraging theory to maximize energy gain. Therefore, larger surface area occupied by food pieces may be less rewarding when unnecessary energy is expended.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Fos Expression in Response to Nicotine and Social Reward in Adolescent Male Rats

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Previous findings from our lab have demonstrated that nicotine and social reward have synergistic effects when experienced together versus when experienced separately. The purpose of this experiment is to understand

Previous findings from our lab have demonstrated that nicotine and social reward have synergistic effects when experienced together versus when experienced separately. The purpose of this experiment is to understand the neural mechanisms underlying this synergistic effect by quantifying Fos protein, a marker for neural activation, in various brain regions. We utilized the conditioning place preference (CPP) model to assess reward. Four groups of adolescent male rats (n=120) were given either nicotine (Nic) (0.1 mg/kg/mL) or saline (Sal) and were placed in the CPP apparatus either with a social partner (Soc) or alone (Iso). Thus, groups were: 1.)Sal+Iso, 2).Sal+Soc, 3).Nic+Iso, 4).Nic+Soc. Brains of some the rats (n=40) were collected for Fos staining 90 minutes after the last conditioning session to obtain Fos data in response to direct exposure to the stimuli. The following regions were analyzed for Fos expression: central amygdala (CeA), medial amygdala (MeA), basolateral amygdala (BLA), nucleus accumbens core (NAcCore), and nucleus accumbens shell (NAcShell). Place preference changes occurred in socially-conditioned groups reflecting social reward and in nicotine-conditioned groups reflecting nicotine reward. As expected, the Sal+Iso control group failed to display a preference change. Fos data revealed a significant increase in Fos expression in the CeA, MeA, NAcCore and NAcShell for socially-conditioned animals and a significant decrease in the NAcCore for nicotine-conditioned groups. Experiencing both social and nicotine rewards together appeared to produce greater activation in the BLA. However, there was an increase in Fos expression in the negative control group relative to Nic+Iso group. The results of CPP suggest that social, nicotine and their combination are rewarding. The combination of the nicotine and social reward could have been more rewarding than social and nicotine separately, but the test was not sensitive to reward magnitude. The increase in Fos expression in the negative control group in the BLA could be due to isolation stress. Overall, these results suggest that these brain regions had greater activation to social reward.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Nicotinic Enhancement of Incentive Salience

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Incentive salience is a motivational-cognitive process that can transform an otherwise neutral stimulus into something that is wanted. The prolonged use of nicotine appears to enhance incentive salience; it has

Incentive salience is a motivational-cognitive process that can transform an otherwise neutral stimulus into something that is wanted. The prolonged use of nicotine appears to enhance incentive salience; it has been suggested that the nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience contributes to the potential of relapse in individuals with tobacco addiction. In order to determine whether (a) nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience for non-nicotinic stimuli occurs when rats self-administer nicotine and (b) a history of nicotine use facilitates such enhancement, rats were trained in a morning self-administration paradigm (SA), in combination with an afternoon 4-CS Pavlovian conditioned approach task (PCA) for 24 days. SA was followed by extinction and cue reinstatement. Nicotine SA enhanced incentive salience in the PCA. Upon extinction, incentive salience quickly declined to saline levels, indicating that the nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience is transient. Experimenter-administered nicotine enhanced incentive salience similarly regardless of nicotine history, suggesting that a previous history of nicotine use does sensitize the nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience. Taken together, these results suggest that nicotine must be onboard for the expression of nicotinic enhancement of incentive salience. This suggests that the role of incentive salience in the development and relapse of tobacco addiction may need to be revisited.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Hepatic inflammatory response following high fat diet in adolescent male Sprague-Dawley rats

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There has long been a link tied between obesity and such pathological conditions as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and type two diabetes. Studies have shown that feeding rats a diet

There has long been a link tied between obesity and such pathological conditions as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and type two diabetes. Studies have shown that feeding rats a diet high in fat results in hepatic steatosis and steatohepatitis. Using a novel short term diet of six weeks with male adolescent Sprague-Dawley rats, our laboratory sought to investigate the early effects of high fat intake on the liver. Prior findings in our laboratory found that a high fat diet (HFD) leads to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease as well as other symptoms of metabolic syndrome. This study hypothesized that rats fed a 60% HFD for 6 weeks, unlike a high sucrose or standard chow diet, would have an elevated expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with steatohepatitis. TNF-α, TLR4 and XBP1 were chosen for their link to hepatic inflammation. The results of this study found that contrary to the hypothesis, the high fat diet did not induce significant changes in the expression of any inflammatory marker in comparison to a high sucrose or control chow diet.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Evaluation of inflammatory responses and tissue triglyceride concentrations following high fat intake in developing rodents

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High fat diets (HFD) are known to cause hepatic non-alcoholic steatosis in rats in as few as four weeks. Accumulation of triglycerides in liver and skeletal muscle is associated with

High fat diets (HFD) are known to cause hepatic non-alcoholic steatosis in rats in as few as four weeks. Accumulation of triglycerides in liver and skeletal muscle is associated with insulin resistance and obesity. However, studies of fat accumulation in cardiac muscle are not as prevalent. Therefore, the first hypothesis of this study was that HFD would lead to hepatic steatosis as well as lipid accumulation in pectoralis and cardiac muscles, tissues responsible for the majority of postprandial glucose disposal. Prior studies also indicated that HFD leads to increased inflammation and oxidative stress within the vasculature resulting in impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation, however biomarkers of immune system reactivity were not assessed. Therefore, the second aim of this study was to explore additional pathways of immune system reactivity and stress (natural antibodies; heat shock protein 60 (HSP60)) in rats fed either a control (chow) or high fat (HFD) diet. HSP60 has also recently been recognized as an early marker of vascular dysfunction in humans. The hypothesis was that immune system reactivity and early vascular dysfunction would be heightened in rats fed a HFD compared to chow-fed controls. Young male Sprague-Dawley rats (140-160g) were maintained on a chow diet (5% fat, 57.33% carbohydrate, 3.4kcal/g) or HFD (60% fat, 20% carbohydrate, 5.24 kcal/g) for 6 weeks. HFD rats developed hepatic steatosis with significantly elevated liver triglyceride concentrations compared to chow-fed controls (20.73±2.09 vs.9.75±0.52 mg triglycerides/g tissue, respectively; p=0.001). While lipid accumulation appeared to be evident in the pectoralis muscle from HFD rats, triglyceride concentrations were not significantly different from controls. Likewise, there was no evidence of lipid infiltration in cardiac muscles of HFD rats. Lipid accumulation in the liver of overweight HFD rats may contribute to the observed insulin resistance in these animals. Contrary to the second hypothesis, there were no significant differences in plasma HSP60 expression between HFD and chow rats (p>0.05). Likewise, hemagglutination and hemolysis responses were similar between HFD and chow-fed rats (p>0.05). These findings suggest that immune system responses may not be affected by 6 weeks of high fat intake and that HSP60 is not an early marker of vascular dysfunction in this rodent model.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Does Varying Item Size Act as a Determinant for Food Preference in Rats?

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The purpose of the present study was to evaluate if the size of food items is an important dimension of food incentive in rats. The experiment involved training rats on

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate if the size of food items is an important dimension of food incentive in rats. The experiment involved training rats on a T-maze with 1, 45 mg pellet and 7, 5 mg pellets in one alternative and 8, 10 mg pellets in the other alternative. Results from this study indicated that the rats showed preference for the alternative that contained the 1, 45 mg pellet surrounded by 7, 5 mg pellets. Thus, rats preferred the food set that contained the larger sized food unit to an equicaloric food set with only smaller sized food units. In regards to running speed, no significant differences were found for either alternative of food. Results from this study indicated that the apparent size of an item could be a factor in the incentive value of food and perhaps, rats used size as a heuristic, placing a higher incentive value on the food set that contained the larger sized food unit than one containing only smaller sized food units.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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The effects of housing conditions and methylphenidate on two volitional inhibition tasks

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The failure to withhold inappropriate behavior is a central component of most impulse control disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The present study examined the effects of housing environment

The failure to withhold inappropriate behavior is a central component of most impulse control disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The present study examined the effects of housing environment and methylphenidate (a drug often prescribed for ADHD) on the performance of rats in two response inhibition tasks: differential reinforcement of low rate (DRL) and fixed minimum interval (FMI). Both tasks required rats to wait a fixed amount of time (6 s) before emitting a reinforced response. The capacity to withhold the target response (volitional inhibition) and timing precision were estimated on the basis of performance in each of the tasks. Paradoxically, rats housed in a mildly enriched environment that included a conspecific displayed less volitional inhibition in both tasks compared to rats housed in an isolated environment. Enriched housing, however, increased timing precision. Acute administration of methylphenidate partially reversed the effects of enriched housing. Implications of these results in the assessment and treatment of ADHD-related impulsivity are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Interval timing under a behavioral microscope: dissociating motivational and timing processes in fixed-interval performance

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Theories of interval timing have largely focused on accounting for the aggregate properties of behavior engendered by periodic reinforcement, such as sigmoidal psychophysical functions and their scalar property. Many theories

Theories of interval timing have largely focused on accounting for the aggregate properties of behavior engendered by periodic reinforcement, such as sigmoidal psychophysical functions and their scalar property. Many theories of timing also stipulate that timing and motivation are inseparable processes. Such a claim is challenged by fluctuations in and out of states of schedule control, making it unclear whether motivation directly affects states related to timing. The present paper seeks to advance our understanding of timing performance by analyzing and comparing the distribution of latencies and inter-response times (IRTs) of rats in two fixed-interval (FI) schedules of food reinforcement (FI 30-s and FI 90-s), and in two levels of food deprivation. Computational modeling revealed that each component was well described by mixture probability distributions embodying two-state Markov chains. Analysis of these models revealed that only a subset of latencies are sensitive to the periodicity of reinforcement, and pre-feeding only reduces the size of this subset. The distribution of IRTs suggests that behavior in FI schedules is organized in bouts that lengthen and ramp up in frequency with proximity to reinforcement. Pre-feeding slowed down the lengthening of bouts and increased the time between bouts. When concatenated, these models adequately reproduced sigmoidal FI response functions. These findings suggest that behavior in FI fluctuates in and out of schedule control; an account of such fluctuation suggests that timing and motivation are dissociable components of FI performance. These mixture-distribution models also provide novel insights on the motivational, associative, and timing processes expressed in FI performance, which need to be accounted for by causal theories of interval timing.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Effects of nicotine on response inhibition and fos activation in spontaneously hypertensive and wistar kyoto Rats

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Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and early initiation is associated with greater difficulty quitting. Among adolescent smokers, those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and early initiation is associated with greater difficulty quitting. Among adolescent smokers, those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), characterized by difficulties associated with impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention, smoke at nearly twice the rate of their peers. Although cigarette smoking is highly addictive, nicotine is a relatively weak primary reinforcer, spurring research on other potential targets that may maintain smoking, including the potential benefits of nicotine on attention, inhibition, and reinforcer efficacy. The present study employs the most prevalent rodent model of ADHD, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) and its control comparison Wistar Kyoto (WKY) to examine the effects of acute and chronic subcutaneous nicotine injections on performance in three operant response inhibition paradigms. Functional activation in select regions of the prefrontal cortex and striatum was also explored. Acute (0.1, 0.3, 0.6 mg/kg) and chronic (0.3 mg/kg) nicotine increased impulsive responding regardless of strain, dose, or operant schedule. Dose-dependent decreases in latency to initiate the task were also observed. SHR receiving daily nicotine injections showed less activation in the nucleus accumbens shell compared to saline controls. Despite close similarities, one of the three operant tasks did not detect response inhibition deficits in SHR relative to WKY. A closer examination of these tasks may highlight critical components involved in the amelioration of response inhibition deficits.

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Date Created
  • 2014