The effects of cross-fostering on inherent sensorimotor gating deficits exhibited by Brattleboro rats

J Gen Psychol. 2007 Apr;134(2):173-82. doi: 10.3200/GENP.134.2.172-182.


Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle reflex is an operational measure of sensorimotor gating, a process critical to normal cognitive function. Researchers (D. Feifel & K. Priebe, 2001) have identified PPI deficits in the Brattleboro rat, a genetically vasopressin-deficient strain that is derived from the Long Evans rat. The absence of vasopressin, a neuropeptide involved in affiliative behaviors, may adversely affect the rearing of offspring by Brattleboro dams, perhaps accounting for their attenuated PPI. Cross-fostering of Long Evans and Brattleboro pups did not alter the PPI deficits in Brattleboro rats. However, the magnitude and habituation of the startle response, which normally differs between Brattleboro and Long Evans rats, was not different in cross-fostered rats. The authors' results indicated that abnormal rearing by Brattleboro dams may contribute to the startle magnitude and habituation abnormalities in Brattleboro Rats but not to their PPI deficits, suggesting that their sensorimotor gating deficits result from their genetic deviation from Long Evans rats.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Arginine Vasopressin / genetics
  • Arginine Vasopressin / physiology*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / genetics
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Rats
  • Rats, Brattleboro
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reflex, Startle / genetics
  • Reflex, Startle / physiology*
  • Social Environment*


  • Arginine Vasopressin