Reduction of sucrose preference by chronic unpredictable mild stress, and its restoration by a tricyclic antidepressant

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1987;93(3):358-64. doi: 10.1007/BF00187257.


Rats exposed chronically (5-9 weeks) to a variety of mild unpredictable stressors showed a reduced consumption of and preference for saccharin or sucrose solutions. Preference deficits took at least 2 weeks to develop and were maintained for more than 2 weeks after termination of the stress regime. Sucrose preference was unaffected by 1 week of treatment with the tricyclic antidepressant DMI but returned to normal after 2-4 weeks of DMI treatment. DMI did not alter sucrose preference in unstressed animals. No significant changes were seen in saline preference either during stress or following drug treatment. DMI reduced blood corticosterone and glucose levels, but stress did not significantly alter either measure. The results are discussed in terms of an animal model of endogenous depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / pharmacology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Desipramine / pharmacology*
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Food Preferences / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Saccharin / administration & dosage
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology*
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Blood Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Saccharin
  • Desipramine