Age-related changes in plasma catecholamine responses to acute swim stress

Thomas R. Mabry, Paul E. Gold, Richard McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Young adult (3 months) and aged (22 months) Fischer 344 male rats were prepared with chronic tail artery catheters. Three days after surgery, rats were exposed acutely to swim stress at 20, 25, 30, or 35°C for 15 min. Blood samples were obtained from each rat under basal conditions, at the end of the swim stress episode, and 15, 30, and 45 min after swim stress. Basal plasma levels of norepinephrine and epinephrine (EPI) were similar for 3- and 22- month-old rats. In contrast, plasma catecholamine responses of aged rats were significantly greater than those of young adult rats following swim stress at 20 and 25°C. Plasma catecholamine responses were similar for rats of the two ages following swim stress at 30 or 35°C. These findings indicate that aged rats have exaggerated sympathetic adrenal medullary responses to acute swim stress at the lower water temperatures. Given the modulatory effects of plasma EPI on memory, these age-related alterations in plasma catecholamine responses to acute swim stress may influence spatial memory performance of rats in the Morris water maze.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-268
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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