Chronic stress impairs rat spatial memory on the Y maze, and this effect is blocked by tianeptine pretreatment

Behav Neurosci. 1996 Dec;110(6):1321-34. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.110.6.1321.


Chronic restraint stress causes significant dendritic atrophy of CA3 pyramidal neurons that reverts to baseline within a week. Therefore, the authors assessed the functional consequences of this atrophy quickly (within hours) using the Y maze. Experiments 1-3 demonstrated that rats relied on extrinsic, spatial cues located outside of the Y maze to determine arm location and that rats with hippocampal damage (through kainic acid, colchicine, or trimethyltin) had spatial memory impairments. After the Y maze was validated as a hippocampally relevant spatial task, Experiment 4 showed that chronic restraint stress impaired spatial memory performance on the Y maze when rats were tested the day after the last stress session and that tianeptine prevented the stress-induced spatial memory impairment. These data are consistent with the previously demonstrated ability of tianeptine to prevent chronic stress-induced atrophy of the CA3 dendrites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Immobilization
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Thiazepines / pharmacology*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Thiazepines
  • tianeptine