Physiological effects of alarm chemosignal emitted during the forced swim test.

Journal of chemical ecology

PubMedID: 24248783

Abel EL. Physiological effects of alarm chemosignal emitted during the forced swim test. J Chem Ecol. 1993;19(12):2891-901.
Two experiments were conducted. In the first, male rats were immersed for 25 min in fresh water or water previously swum in by another rat. Control rats were not immersed in water. Rats tested in water previously swum in by another rat were significantly less immobile than rats tested in fresh water. Water immersion resulted in significant increases in serum corticosterone, glucose, and phosphorus levels, a decrease in potassium levels, and a higher phosphorus/potassium ratio, compared to nonimmersed controls regardless of water condition. When the two water-immersed groups were compared, rats tested in previously swum water had significantly higher glucose and significantly lower potassium levels and a higher phosphorus/potassium ratio than rats tested in fresh water. Immobility times were significantly correlated with the phosphorus/potassium ratio. In the second experiment, blood gases were measured prior to testing and at 25 min after immersion in rats tested in fresh and previously swum water. Rats in soiled water hypoventilated to a significantly greater extent than rats in fresh water but did not differ significantly in blood oxygenation. These two studies demonstrate that alarm chemosignals can produce physiological effects in conspecifics.