Hyperbilirubinemia-related behavioral and neuropathological changes in rats: A possible schizophrenia animal model

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Patients with schizophrenia show a significantly higher frequency of hyperbilirubinemia than patients suffering from other psychiatric disorders and the general healthy population. We examined the hyperbilirubinemia on behavioral and neuropathological changes in rats as a possible animal model of schizophrenia.


Gunn rats with severe hyperbilirubinemia (j/j), Gunn rats without severe hyperbilirubinemia (+/j), and Wistar rats were examined by open-field, social interaction, and prepulse inhibition tests. TUNEL, AgNOR and Ki-67 were also assayed on paraffin-embedded brain sections of these rats.


Compared to Wistar rats, both Gunn j/j and +/j rats showed hyperlocomotion, high sniffing scores, and low defecation scores. They showed significantly more aggressive behaviors and impaired prepulse inhibition. The numbers of Ki-67-labeled cells and AgNOR were lower and the number of TUNEL-positive cells was higher than that of Wistar rats.


These results might support the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia. Both Gunn j/j and +/j rats may be a useful animal model and provide clues to the role of hyperbilirubinemia in schizophrenia.

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