Repeated restraint stress impairs auditory attention and GABAergic synaptic efficacy in the rat auditory cortex

Miguel Ángel Pérez, Catherine Pérez-Valenzuela, Felipe Rojas-Thomas, Juan Ahumada, Marco Fuenzalida, Alexies Dagnino-Subiabre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Chronic stress induces dendritic atrophy in the rat primary auditory cortex (A1), a key brain area for auditory attention. The aim of this study was to determine whether repeated restraint stress affects auditory attention and synaptic transmission in A1. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained in a two-alternative choice task (2-ACT), a behavioral paradigm to study auditory attention in rats. Trained animals that reached a performance over 80% of correct trials in the 2-ACT were randomly assigned to control and restraint stress experimental groups. To analyze the effects of restraint stress on the auditory attention, trained rats of both groups were subjected to 50 2-ACT trials one day before and one day after of the stress period. A difference score was determined by subtracting the number of correct trials after from those before the stress protocol. Another set of rats was used to study the synaptic transmission in A1. Restraint stress decreased the number of correct trials by 28% compared to the performance of control animals (p<0.001). Furthermore, stress reduced the frequency of spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSC) and miniature IPSC in A1, whereas glutamatergic efficacy was not affected. Our results demonstrate that restraint stress decreased auditory attention and GABAergic synaptic efficacy in A1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-107
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 9 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Auditory system
  • Learning
  • Stress
  • Synaptic transmission


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