The measurement of stress hormones such as corticosterone or cortisol is generally associated with research focused on impacts of stress or stress management. However, there are many times when it may be just as important to rule out stress as a potential cause for neurological symptoms or behaviors. Stress is well known to affect a variety of neurological processes including memory, learning, sensory processing, executive function, addiction, bonding and response to trauma and pain among others.
When studying a pathway that can potentially be affected by stress it is important to understand what influence stress might be having on the results you observe. Since individuals can respond to potentially stressful stimuli differently, it is not always sufficient to simply treat and house all control and test subjects in the same manner. A better picture can be seen by quantitating stress hormones in both control and test populations.
For example, in a July 2016 study, Ravinder et al. examined the relationship between excessive sensory stimulation during development and the behaviors and neurological processes of addiction in adult mice. Stimulation of the pups consisted of 42 days of exposure to blinking multicolored LED lights and cartoon soundtracks for 6 hours per night with sound exposure limited to no more than 70dB. After reaching adulthood, the mice were assessed for both addictive and psychomotor responses to cocaine. Since stress is a well established modulator of the behavioral effects of cocaine, it was important for the researchers to be able to separate the effects of the stimulation itself from the effects of any stress that the stimulatory protocol might have caused. This was achieved by measuring body weights and plasma corticosterone levels (using our DetectX® Corticosterone EIA kit K014-H) in both the control and stimulated mice 24 hours after the last stimulation exposure. Their data showed no difference in body weight or plasma corticosterone levels between control and stimulated mice, demonstrating that the stimulated mice were not showing signs of stress and therefore the behavioral effects they observed in their stimulated mice were related to the stimulation and not to stress.
The ability to demonstrate analytically, through stress hormone analysis, that stress is not a variable contributing to experimental results is extremely valuable. This allows for stronger conclusions and greater understanding of factors that impact neurological processes, which in turn creates the opportunity for the development of better treatment options for individuals.
DetectX® Corticosterone EIA (K014-H) Features:
- Measure Corticosterone in as little as 1 μl sample
- Compatible with a wide range of sample types including: Serum, Plasma, Urine, Feces, Feathers, Hair, Nails etc.
- 38 or 230 samples per kit in duplicate
- Results in 90 minutes
- Liquid reagents stable at 4°C