Rat strains selectively bred for behavioral differences in susceptibility to mild stress exhibited differences in serum prolactin (Prl) and hypothalamic dopamine (DA). Male rats from the Maudsley Reactive (MR) strain had higher levels of serum Prl and hypothalamic DA than rats from the Maudsley Non-Reactive (MNRA) strain. MR rats also showed a greater percentage increase in serum Prl 1 h after blockade of catecholamine synthesis by administration of α-methylparatyrosine (α-MpT). The correlation of basal serum Prl levels with individual susceptibility to stress constitutes further evidence that Prl may play a functional role in the organism’s response to stress. Strain differences in hypothalamic DA function may play a role in the etiology of strain differences in serum Prl.
- MR and MNRA/rat strains
- Stress susceptibility