Involvement of corticosterone in cardiovascular responses to an open-field novelty stressor in freely moving rats Academic Article uri icon


  • The aim of the present study was to investigate the modulatory action of different concentrations of circulating corticosterone occupying either predominantly mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) or both MR and glucocorticoid receptors (GR) in control of cardiovascular responses to a novelty stressor. Six groups of rats were instrumented with radiotelemetry transmitters: sham-operated controls, adrenalectomised (ADX) controls, ADX with chronic implantation of a 20-mg corticosterone pellet, ADX with chronic implantation of a 100-mg corticosterone pellet, ADX receiving acute bolus injection of 0.25 mg/kg of corticosterone, and ADX with both implantation of a 20-mg corticosterone pellet and bolus treatment. Exposure to the novelty of an open field caused an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature and exploratory locomotor activity. The pressor response was dose-dependently increased in ADX rats implanted with a corticosterone pellet. Bolus injection of corticosterone at 10 min prior to novelty had no effect. The tachycardia was reduced in ADX rats compared to sham-operated controls, and this effect was restored by implantation of a 20-mg, but not 100-mg, corticosterone pellet. Bolus injection of corticosterone facilitated the return of heart rate towards baseline levels. The increase in body temperature was reduced in ADX rats, a deficit that was normalised by implantation of either corticosterone dose but not by acute bolus treatment. Locomotor activity was not different between the groups except for a slightly more rapid decline of locomotor activity in both groups treated with a bolus injection of corticosterone. These data show an important role of putative brain MR in maintaining adequate cardiovascular and behavioural responsiveness to a mild psychological stressor, while additional acute or chronic occupation of GR has further differential and sometimes opposing effects.

publication date

  • February 2002