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Long term effect of social isolation during adolescence on β-catenin levels as well as on anxiety: role of dopamine neurotransmission

Alejandrina Funes

  • Rosario,
  • Argentina
  • Alejandrina Funes ¹𝄒²
  • , Cintia N. Konjuh ¹
  • , Silvana B. Rosso ¹𝄒²
  • , Alejandra M. Pacchioni ¹𝄒²
  • 1 Facultad de Cs. Bioquímicas y Farmacéuticas, UNR

Adolescence is a key period of development, where major cognitive and neurobiological changes occur. Results from our lab showed that 5 days of social isolation (SI) in adolescent rats lead to short term molecular changes in the Wnt/Bcatenin pathway and to higher cocaine reinforcing properties during adulthood. In the present study, we assessed if dopamine (DA) is involved in SI impact on Bcatenin changes in specific brain areas. We also investigated a possible SI impact on behavioral responses such as anxiety during adolescence. To carry out our objectives, male and female Wistar rats were isolated (SI) between PND30 to 35, or kept in their home cages (controls). All rats were treated with Sulpiride (100 mg/kg, i.p.) or Vehicle during the SI period. Then, they were sacrificed on PND36 or PND45 and catenin levels were analyzed by Western blot in Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) and in Nucleus Accumbens (NAcc). Also, behavioral studies were carried out to evaluate anxiety levels. Open Field and light/dark transition tests were performed between PND42-44, while only the Open field test was performed in those animals that were sacrificed on PND36. Our findings showed that SI decreased Bcatenin levels in PFC and modified anxiety like behaviors (especially in females) on PND44. We also found that a systemic administration of Sulpiride reverses the impact of SI on Bcatenin levels in PFC as well as the behavioral effects.