In the present study, the effect of acute and chronic immobilization stress on brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) enzyme activity and cognitive function in mice was investigated. Mice were immobilized by strapping for 150 min. One group of mice were only immobilized once (acute stress) while in another group mice were immobilized (150 min) daily for 5 consecutive days (chronic stress). Specific AChE enzyme activity (μmol min-1 mg-1) was estimated by a spectrophotometric method in the whole brain of mice subjected to acute and chronic stress. In the acute stress group, AChE activity (0.24922 ± 0.011) in the detergent-soluble fraction was found to be significantly decreased in comparison to the control group (0.33561 ± 0.022). Chronic stress did not cause any significant change in AChE activity in the detergent-soluble fraction. In the salt-soluble fraction, AChE activity was significantly decreased only in the chronic stress group (0.08791 ± 0.011) as compared to the control group (0.12051 ± 0.011). A passive avoidance test was used to assess cognitive function. The transfer latency time (TLT) from a light to dark chamber was recorded in the control and acute stress groups (30 min after immobilization is over) on day 1 (Trial I) and the following day (Trial II). The acute stress group showed an increase (178%) in TLT from Trial I to Trial II, which was significantly higher than that of the non-stress control group (75%). In the chronic stress group, Trial I was undertaken 30 min after the last immobilization, i.e. on day 5 and 24 hr later, Trial II. However, the chronically stressed mice showed an increase (70%) in TLT similar to the control group. Thus this study shows that acute immobilization stress may enhance cognitive function in mice which may be attributed to a decrease in AChE activity leading to an increase in cholinergic activity in the brain. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
- Passive avoidance
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