Ovariectomy results in inbred strain-specific increases in anxiety-like behavior in mice.

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Physiol Behav 2016 Sep 29; 167:404-412






Women are at an increased risk for developing affective disorders during times of hormonal flux, including menopause when the ovaries cease production of estrogen. However, while all women undergo menopause, not all develop an affective disorder. Increased vulnerability can result from genetic predisposition, environmental factors and gene by environment interactions. In order to investigate interactions between genetic background and estrogen depletion, we performed bilateral ovariectomy, a surgical procedure that results in estrogen depletion and is thought to model the post-menopausal state, in a genetically defined panel of 37 inbred mouse strains. Seventeen days post-ovariectomy, we assessed behavior in two standard rodent assays of anxiety- and depressive-like behavior, the open field and forced swim tests. We detected a significant interaction between ovariectomy and genetic background on anxiety-like behavior in the open field. No strain specific effects of ovariectomy were observed in the forced swim assay. However, we did observe significant strain effects for all behaviors in both the open field and forced swim tests. This study is the largest to date to look at the effects of ovariectomy on behavior and provides evidence that ovariectomy interacts with genetic background to alter anxiety-like behavior in an animal model of menopause. Physiol Behav 2016 Sep 29; 167:404-412