Both aversive and positive interactions are relevant features of the social environment. Widely used models of social stress in rodents include social subordination, crowding, isolation,
and social instability (Fig. 1, left side). While most studies have been conducted in mice and rats, prairie voles and other social rodent species provide an opportunity to study the role of identity of the social partner, and how separation from a mate differs from isolation from a same-sex peer. In humans, social rejection is used as a potent experimental this website stressor (Kirschbaum et al., 1993), and decades of work in humans and non-human primates have demonstrated that an individual’s position in the social hierarchy has profound implications for
health and well-being (Adler et al., 1994 and Sapolsky, 2005). In rodents, the most prominent selleck chemicals llc model of stressful social interaction is social defeat. Social defeat is typically induced by a version of the resident-intruder test in which a test subject is paired with a dominant resident in its home cage. Dominance may be assured by size, prior history of winning, strain of the resident, and/or prior housing differences (Martinez et al., 1998). Defeat may be acute or repeated, with many possible variations on the method. Social defeat is typically used as a stressor in male rodents, for whom dominance is easier to quantify and aggressive interactions related to home territory are presumed more salient. A few studies report effects of social
defeat on females, particularly in Syrian hamsters in which females are highly aggressive and dominant to males (Payne and Swanson, 1970). In rats and mice, females do not always show a significant response to this task and the effect in males is far greater (Palanza, 2001 and Huhman et al., 2003). Thus, other stress paradigms such as social instability are more widely used with females (Haller et al., 1999). Social defeat can have a more substantial impact on male rodent physiology and behavior than widely used stressors such as restraint, electric shock, and chronic Tryptophan synthase variable mild stress (Koolhaas et al., 1996, Blanchard et al., 1998 and Sgoifo et al., 2014). In the short-term, social defeat produces changes in heart rate, hormone secretion, and body temperature, with longer-term impacts on a wide variety of additional outcomes including activity, social behavior, drug preference, disease susceptibility and others (Martinez et al., 1998, Sgoifo et al., 1999 and Peters et al., 2011). Unlike physical stressors such as restraint, social defeat does not appear to be susceptible to habituation or sensitization (Tornatzky and Miczek, 1993 and Sgoifo et al., 2002), and can be used in groups housed with a single dominant individual (Nyuyki et al., 2012).