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Serum Corticosterone Levels Following Exposure to Stressors of Varying Nature and Stress Induced Withdrawal in Rats

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The present study was designed to examine serum Corticosterone levels following exposure to stressors of varying nature and stress-induced withdrawal effect in female Wistar rats. Three (3) stress models were used to induce stress in the animals. The study was divided into two sets of experiments; the first aspect utilized 168 rats randomly distributed into 28 groups. Based on the outcome of the unit one study, 60 rats randomly distributed into 10 groups were utilized for unit two experiment to estimate the impact of weekly stressor withdrawal up to three weeks. Data were expressed as Mean ± SEM. Analysis was performed using ANOVA statistic. Results obtained from the first set of experiments revealed that serum levels of Corticosterone were significantly (p<0.05) elevated in rats by exposing them to different stressors and this was dependent on the duration of exposure to stress; minimal increase was observed within the first-week exposure to stress, the level peaked within the second week, but by the third week the level returned to about the control level. Results from the unit two study revealed that withdrawal of the different nature of stressors weekly for up to three weeks did not significantly alter the serum level of Corticosterone in the stressed rats. In conclusion, the return of the serum level of Corticosterone, at the end of three weeks reflects adaptive changes suggesting an optimal physiologic adjustment to the stressful conditions. Withdrawal of stressors for three weeks may not have been responsible for activation of the mechanism for the reversal of the adaptive change.

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