Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine


Exercise Physiology


Acute and chronic stress have been reported to have differing effects on physical activity in rodents, but no study has examined a chronic stress protocol that incorporates stressors often experienced by rodents throughout a day. To examine this, the effects of the Unpredict- able Chronic Mild Stress (UCMS) protocol on voluntary running wheel activity at multiple time points, and/or in response to acute removal of chronic stress was determined. Twenty male Balb/c mice were given access and accustomed to running wheels for 4 weeks, after which they were randomized into 2 groups; exercise (EX, n = 10) and exercise with chronic stress using a modified UCMS protocol for 7 hours/day (8:00 a.m.-3:00p.m.), 5 days/week for 8 weeks (EXS, n = 10). All mice were given access to running wheels from approximately 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. during the weekday, however during weekends mice had full-time access to running wheels (a time period of no stress for the EXS group). Daily wheel running distance and time were recorded. The average running distance, running time, and work each week- day was significantly lower in EXS compared to EX mice, however, the largest effect was seen during week one. Voluntary wheel running deceased in all mice with increasing age; the pattern of decline appeared to be similar between groups. During the weekend (when no stress was applied), EXS maintained higher distance compared to EX, as well as higher daily distance, time, and work compared to their weekday values. These results indicate that mild chronic stress reduces total spontaneous wheel running in mice during the first week of the daily stress induction and maintains this reduced level for up to 8 consecutive weeks. How- ever, following five days of UCMS, voluntary running wheel activity rebounds within 2–3 days.

Source Citation

DeVallance E, Riggs D, Jackson B, Parkulo T, Zaslau S, Chantler PD, et al. (2017) Effect of chronic stress on running wheel activity in mice. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0184829. 10.1371/journal.pone.0184829


© 2017 DeVallance et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.