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Original Article

Prodromal signs of catatonia are associated with hereditary dysfunction of body systems in rat pups

Tatyana Igonina, Tatyana Alekhina, Natalya Palchikova, Olga Prokudina.


Objective: The study was aimed at determining deviations in locomotor behavior and in levels of its regulators (serotonin, noradrenaline, and corticosterone) at the critical periods in rats of the genetic catatonia (GC) strain. Methods: The rat pups of GC and Wistar strains of different ages ranging from 1 to 14 days were tested by motor subsystem test. The following parameters were accounted: head movements, body movements, locomotion (pacing), immobility time, asymmetric postures during immobility periods, falls onto the back, retropulsions, body tremor, and swimming-like movements. Brain monoamine levels and corticosterone in blood plasma were assayed. The body and organ weights were measurement. Results: Preceding signs of catatonia have been noted in postnatal development in GC pups: (a) the prevalence of dyskinetic movements in the first days; (b) reduction in motor activity; (c) imbalance between the brain serotonin and noradrenaline levels; (d) increased plasma corticosterone concentration; (e) underweight at 1, 7, 10 and 14 days during early development, and the relatively larger weight of the brains and kidneys in GC rats compared with Wistar control. Conclusion: The entire range of observed abnormalities in the behavioral, neurotransmitter, hormonal, and general physical systems may be viewed as prodromal signs of catatonic reactions in GC rats.

Key words: catatonia, postnatal ontogeny, motor development, corticosterone, serotonin, noradrenaline.

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