The present study investigated the sensitivity to stress and diazepam in weaning (21-day old) Wistar rats. A single 15-min session of forced swimming was used to induce anxiety-like behavior. The group that was forced to swim exhibited an increase in anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze (EPM) and open field test (OFT) compared to the non-stressed group. Diazepam (1 h before the tests) reduced anxiety-like behavior in rats forced to swim compared to the vehicle stressed group. The dose-response curve for diazepam indicated that the 0.5 mg kg−1 dose (1 h before the EPM and OFT) was the minimum effective dose in reducing anxiety-like behavior without altering locomotor activity in weaning rats. These results indicate that weaning rats can develop anxiety-like behavior after a brief, single session of stress, and that rats at this age are seemingly more sensitive to diazepam than adult rats, which may be taken into account for clinical applications.
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