Effect of chronic corticosterone application on depression-like behavior in C57BL/6N and C57BL/6J mice

M. Sturm, A. Becker, A. Schroeder, A. Bilkei-Gorzo, A. Zimmer

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Many studies using genetic mouse models are performed with animals on either one of the two closely related genetic backgrounds, C57BL/6J or C57BL/6N. These strains differ only in a few genetic loci, but have some phenotypic differences that also affect behavior. In order to determine the effects of chronic stress hormone exposure, which is relevant for the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders, we investigated here the behavioral manifestations of long-term increase in corticosterone levels. Thus, male mice from both sub-strains were subcutaneously implanted with corticosterone (20 mg) or placebo pellets that released the hormone for a period of 21 days and resulted in significantly elevated plasma corticosterone levels. Corticosterone significantly increased food intake in B6N, but not in B6J mice. At various time points after pellet implantation, we performed tests relevant to activity and emotional behaviors. B6J mice displayed a generally higher activity in the home cage and the open field. Corticosterone decreased the activity. In B6N mice, corticosterone also decreased sucrose preference, worsened the coat state and increased forced swim immobility, while it had no effect in the B6J strain. Altogether, these results indicate that B6N mice are more sensitive to some of the effects of chronic corticosterone treatment than B6J mice. B6N mice are more sensitive to some of the effects of chronic corticosterone treatment than B6J mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-300
Number of pages9
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anhedonia
  • Behavioral changes
  • C57BL/6 mice
  • Corticosterone
  • Immobility
  • Locomotor activity
  • Major depression
  • Stress
  • Sub-strain
  • Sucrose preference

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