Two Wistar Rat Lines Selectively Bred for Anxiety-Related Behavior Show Opposite Reactions in Elevated Plus Maze and Fear-Sensitized Acoustic Startle Tests

D. M. Yilmazer-Hanke, A. Wigger, R. Linke, R. Landgraf, H. Schwegler

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Two Wistar rat lines selectively bred for high (HAB), and low anxiety-related behavior (LAB) on the elevated plus maze were tested for the fear-sensitized acoustic startle response. The study of male rats from the F9 generation revealed a higher anxiety level of HAB rats on the elevated plus maze. However, the LAB rats displayed a higher baseline and fear-sensitized acoustic startle response compared to HAB rats, although the two rat lines did not differ in freezing duration during the interstimulus intervals in the startle experiment (neither before, nor after, footshocks). Counts of neurons immunoreactive for corticotropin-releasing factor and neuropeptide Y in amygdaloid nuclei did not reveal any differences between the two lines, which is in marked contrast to findings in the Roman rat lines (Yilmazer-Hanke, D. M. et al. [2002]). The data indicate that opposite types of anxiety/fear responses are elicited in HAB/LAB rats in the elevated plus maze and fear-sensitized startle tests. Moreover, the animals displayed a differential fear response in the startle experiment, as assessed by measuring the fear-sensitized startle response and freezing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2004


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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