Stress induces rapid changes in central catecholaminergic activity in Anolis carolinensis: Restraint and forced physical activity

R. Parrish Waters, Aaron J. Emerson, Michael J. Watt, Gina L. Forster, John G. Swallow, Cliff H. Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Immobilization stress and physical activity separately influence monoaminergic function. In addition, it appears that stress and locomotion reciprocally modulate neuroendocrine responses, with forced exercise ameliorating stress-induced serotonergic activity in lizards. To investigate the interaction of forced physical activity and restraint stress on central dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE), and epinephrine (Epi), we measured these catecholamines and their metabolites in select brain regions of stressed and exercised male Anolis carolinensis lizards. Animals were handled briefly to elicit restraint stress, with some lizards additionally forced to run on a track until exhaustion, or half that time (50% of average time to exhaustion), compared to a control group that experienced no restraint or exercise. Norepinephrine concentrations in the hippocampus and locus ceruleus decreased with restraint stress, but returned to control levels following forced exhaustion. Levels of NE in the raphé nuclei and area postrema, and epinephrine in raphé became elevated following restraint stress, and returned to control levels following forced physical activity to 50% or 100% exhaustion. Striatal DA increased as animals were exercised to 50% of exhaustion, and returned to baseline with exhaustion. At exhaustion, striatal Epi levels were diminished, compared with controls. In the area postrema, exhaustion reversed a decline in epinephrine levels that followed forced physical activity. These results suggest that stress stimulates a rapid influence on central catecholamines. In addition, forced exercise, and even exhaustion, may alleviate the effects of restraint stress on central monoamines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 15 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Dopamine
  • Epinephrine
  • Exercise
  • Exhaustion
  • Lizard
  • Norepinephrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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