Water restriction is commonly used to motivate rodents to perform behavioral tasks; however, its effects on hydration and stress hormone levels are unknown. Here, we report daily body weight and bi-weekly packed red blood cell volume and corticosterone in adult male rats across 80 days for three commonly used water restriction schedules. We also assessed renal adaptation to water restriction using post-mortem histological evaluation of renal medulla. A control group received ad libitum water. After one week of water restriction, rats on all restriction schedules resumed similar levels of growth relative to the control group. Normal hydration was observed, and water restriction did not drive renal adaptation. An intermittent restriction schedule was associated with an increase in corticosterone relative to the control group. However, intermittent restriction evokes a stress response which could affect behavioral and neurobiological results. Our results also suggest that stable motivation in behavioral tasks may only be achieved after one week of restriction.
- 3112 Neurotieteet