Response of liver antioxidant defense system to acute and chronic physical and psychological stresses in male rats.
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of acute and chronic physical and psychological stressors on the induction of oxidative stress in male rat liver. Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into 3 groups as following: control, physical and psychological stress groups. Stress was induced by communication box for one (acute), fifteen and thirty (chronic) days. Once stressor periods ended, rats were anesthetized and their liver dissected out for later assessments. Exposure to physical stress enhanced liver superoxide dismutase (SOD) (19.44 %) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) (21.84 %) activities and decreased glutathione (GSH) (30.03 %) level on the 1(st) day (p<0.05). SOD (24.13 and 18.43 %) and GST (27.77 and 21.27 %) activities were significantly increased, while catalase activity (29.74 and 24.41 %) and GSH level (35.05 and 31.05 %) were decreased in psychological stress group after 1 and 15 days (p<0.01 and p<0.05) compared to the 1(st) day value in control group, respectively. Psychological stress induced an increase in liver malondialdehyde (MDA) (46 %) and plasma corticosterone (36 %) levels on the 1(st) day (p<0.05). However, all parameters returned to their basal value after 30 days of stress. The results suggest that exposure to acute physical and psychological stressors induce the production of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress in rat liver due to GSH depletion and the decreased catalase activity. The elevation of lipid peroxidation and corticosterone level in acute psychological stress may lead to more profound oxidative damage than acute physical stress. Moreover, cell protection in hepatic tissue of chronically stressed rats is indicative of possible late adaptation of the animals to stress.