Experimental Combat-Stress Model in Rats: Histological Examination of Effects on Amelogenesis— A Possible Measure of Diminished Vagal Tone Episodes

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H. Stefan Bracha
D. Caroline Blanchard
Jeffrey L. Lloyd-Jones
Andrew Williams
Robert J. Blanchard


Developmental defects of enamel-stress histomarker rings (accentuated striae) may be a potential measure of diminished vagal tone in research on extreme stress such as exposure to combat. To develop an animal model of this measure, we examined the enamel of rat incisors which erupt continuously. We examined incisors from 15 stressed-colony rats and 7 control-group rats for these histomarkers using the Visible Burrow System (VBS). VBS was developed to study combat stress in rats. No stress rings were found in any of the rat incisors examined. In contrast to humans, rats have likely evolved to prioritize incisor strength during combat stress. Studies of amelogenesis during combat stress in other rodents with continuouly growing incisors are warranted. Laboratory animals such as rabbits or marmosets may be especially suitable, since they less frequently use their incisors for self-defense.