Chronic non-discriminatory social defeat is an effective chronic stress paradigm for both male and female mice

Christine N. Yohn, Andrew Dieterich, Allyson S. Bazer, Isabella Maita, Megan Giedraitis, Benjamin Adam Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Stress-related mood disorders are more prevalent in females than males, yet preclinical chronic stress paradigms were developed in male rodents and are less effective in female rodents. Here we characterize a novel chronic non-discriminatory social defeat stress (CNSDS) paradigm that results in comparable stress effects in both sexes. Male and female C57BL/6J mice were simultaneously introduced into the home cage of resident CD-1 aggressors for 10 daily 5-min sessions. CD-1 aggressors attacked males and females indiscriminately, resulting in stress resilient and susceptible subpopulations in both sexes. CD-1 aggressors attacked C57BL/6J male intruders faster and more frequently than female intruders. However, CNSDS similarly induced negative valence behaviors in SUS mice of both sexes relative to RES and CNTRL mice. Furthermore, SUS male and female mice displayed similar increases in plasma corticosterone levels following CNSDS exposure relative to pre-stress exposure levels. The estrous cycle did not impact CD-1 attack behavior or negative valence behaviors. Thus, CNSDS induces chronic stress behavioral and neuroendocrine effects in both male and female C57BL/6J mice and allows direct comparisons between sexes. Adoption of this modified social defeat paradigm will help advance the initiative to include female rodents in preclinical chronic stress research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2220-2229
Number of pages10
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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