Hypoxia helped rodents get rid of their fear of cats

Russian made rats avoid panic fear of cats by placing them in baroque chambers where rodents were oxygen-deprived. Perhaps this technique in the future will help to fight stress and people. A study has been published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Scientists have been studying for several years how hormone concentrations and behavior of rats change under constant stress. In early experiments, they caused rodents to feel afraid by putting containers of sawdust from cat toilets next to their cells. This allowed specialists to see how active the various proteins and cell systems that protected the animals from stress were.

They then assumed that stress could be dealt with if the body was forced to 'turn on' these systems. For instance, by changing the oxygen concentration in the air and causing the hypoxia effect.

For a new experiment, scientists selected 80 rats, some of which were placed in the cells, and placed next to them the same containers with sawdust. The other part lived in cages without cat smell. Half of the first group was periodically placed in baroque chambers, where an imitation of oxygen deprivation was performed.

The results showed that due to this procedure the rats significantly reduced their stress symptoms. They died less and found their way out of the labyrinth 10% faster than their relatives who were waiting for the cats to attack. In this respect, the baroque chamber rats were no different from healthy rodents living in clean cells. In addition, hypoxia protected them from inflammation, hormonal disorders and other effects of chronic stress.

Scientists hope that such results will provide an opportunity to conduct research with the participation of people who are not helped by existing methods to combat stress disorders.

March 30, 2020, 12:03 p.m.

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