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The corticosterone mouse model is widely used in preclinical research towards a better understanding of mechanisms of major depression. One particular administration procedure is the subcutaneous implantation of corticosterone slow-release pellets. In this report we want to provide basic evidence, regarding behavioral changes, neurotransmitter and -modulator levels and some other relevant biomolecules after hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis distortion. We show that three weeks of corticosterone pellet exposure robustly induces depressive-like but not anxiety-like behavior in mice, accompanied by a significant decrease in hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels, at five weeks after the start of treatment. Furthermore there is an overall decrease in plasma corticosterone levels after three weeks of treatment that lasts up until the five weeks' time point. On the other hand, no differences are observed in total monoamine, glutamate or d-serine levels, nor in glucocorticoid receptor expression, in various depression-related brain areas. Altogether this characterization delivers vital information, supplementary to existing literature, regarding the phenotyping of pellet-induced hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis disruption in mice following three weeks of continuous corticosterone exposure.
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