Behavioral training and predisposed coping strategies interact to influence resilience in male Long-Evans rats: implications for depression

Stress. 2012 May;15(3):306-17. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2011.623739. Epub 2012 Jan 18.


Effective coping strategies and adaptive behavioral training build resilience against stress-induced pathology. Both predisposed and acquired coping strategies were investigated in rats to determine their impact on stress responsiveness and emotional resilience. Male Long-Evans rats were assigned to one of the three coping groups: passive, active, or variable copers. Rats were then randomly assigned to either an effort-based reward (EBR) contingent training group or a non-contingent training group. Following EBR training, rats were tested in appetitive and stressful challenge tasks. Physiological responses included changes in fecal corticosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) metabolites as well as neuropeptide Y (NPY)-immunoreactivity in the hippocampus and amygdala. Regardless of a rat's predisposed coping strategy, EBR rats persisted longer than non-contingent rats in the appetitive problem-solving task. Furthermore, training and coping styles interacted to yield the seemingly most adaptive DHEA/corticosterone ratios in the EBR-trained variable copers. Regardless of training group, variable copers exhibited increased NPY-immunoreactivity in the CA1 region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Corticosterone / metabolism
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / metabolism
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Hormones / blood
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Reward
  • Stress, Psychological / blood
  • Swimming / psychology


  • Hormones
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Corticosterone