Stressful experiences can affect hippocampal structure and function and can suppress new cell birth in the adult hippocampus in several species. Here we examine how repeated intermittent social defeat affects cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus (DG) in mice. Adult male CFW mice were subjected to 10 daily social defeat episodes, 3 defeat episodes within one day or a single defeat episode. Intruder mice were injected with 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU, 200 mg/kg, i.p.) 1 h after the last fight, and incorporation of BrdU into proliferating cells in the DG was quantified. In a third experiment, aggressive resident mice were allowed to fight with an intruder mouse every day for 10 days, and these residents were injected with BrdU 1 h after the last aggressive encounter. There was a significant decrease in cell proliferation in mice that received 10 social defeats, confirming and extending earlier results. This decrease is correlated with the intensity of the defeat experiences, as quantified by frequency of attack bites. Cell proliferation was slightly inhibited after a single defeat, although this effect was not significant. Three defeats within a 5-h period had no effect on levels of proliferation. Offensive aggressive stress in the residents did not result in any changes in hippocampal cell proliferation. These data indicate that repeated intermittent social defeat experienced over multiple days suppresses proliferation in the DG, and this may have important implications for our understanding of hippocampal changes related to stress psychopathologies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cell proliferation
- Dentate gyrus
- Social defeat