Repeated social defeat in the rat induces long-lasting cardiovascular changes associated with anxiety. In this study, we investigated the effects of repeated social defeat on breathing. Respiratory rate was extracted from the respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) peak frequency of the ECG in rats subjected to social defeat for 4 consecutive days. Respiratory rate was recorded under anesthesia 6 days (D+10) or 26 days (D+30) after social defeat. At D+10, defeated (D) rats spent less time in the open arms of the elevated plus maze test, had heavier adrenal glands, and displayed bradypnea, unlike nondefeated animals. At D+30, all signs of anxiety had disappeared. However, one-half of the rats still displayed bradypnea (DL rats, for low respiratory rate indicated by a lower RSA frequency), whereas those with higher respiratory rate (DH rats) had recovered. Acute blockade of the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) or nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) 5-HT3 receptors reversed bradypnea in all D rats at D+10 and in DL rats at D+30. Respiratory rate was also recorded in conscious animals implanted with radiotelemetric ECG probes. DH rats recovered between D+10 and D+18, whereas DL rats remained bradypneic until D+30. In conclusion, social stress induces sustained chronic bradypnea mediated by DMH neurons and NTS 5-HT3 receptors. These changes are associated with an anxiety-like state that persists until D+10, followed by recovery. However, bradypnea may persist in one-half of the population up until D+30, despite apparent recovery of the anxiety-like state.
- social defeat
- telemetric recording
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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