Deficient prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle in Hooded-Wistar rats compared with Sprague-Dawley rats Academic Article uri icon


  • 1. Prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle has been suggested as a model of sensorimotor gating and central sensory information processing. Prepulse inhibition is impaired in patients with schizophrenia and responses can be restored by antipsychotic drug treatment. In the present study, startle and prepulse inhibition of startle were compared in different rat strains. 2. Sprague-Dawley rats showed robust inhibition of startle responses by increasing intensities of prepulse delivered just before the startle stimulus. In contrast, at both 4 and 10 weeks of age, rats of the Hooded-Wistar line had markedly reduced prepulse inhibition, although startle responses were not different. 3. Treatment with the dopamine receptor agonist apomorphine (0.1 mg/kg) or the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg) caused disruption of prepulse inhibition in Sprague-Dawley rats. In Hooded-Wistar rats, apomorphine further reduced the already low level of prepulse inhibition, but MK-801 treatment had no significant effect. This suggests that the impaired prepulse inhibition in Hooded-Wistar rats could be caused by changes in glutamatergic activity and/or NMDA receptors in these rats. 4. In photocell cages, spontaneous exploratory activity and inner zone activity were significantly lower in Hooded-Wistar rats than in Sprague-Dawley rats. Similarly, on the elevated plus-maze, Hooded-Wistar rats showed a lower propensity to visit the open arms. In contrast, amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg)-induced locomotor hyperactivity, an animal model of psychosis, was enhanced in Hooded-Wistar rats. 5. These data suggest that the Hooded-Wistar line could be a useful genetic animal model to study the interaction of glutamatergic and dopaminergic mechanisms in anxiety and schizophrenia.

publication date

  • April 2003