l-Serine is considered a functional amino acid in the central nervous system, since intracerebroventricular injection of l-serine induced sedative and hypnotic effects in neonatal chicks exposed to acute stressful conditions. Accordingly, l-serine is a candidate anti-stress factor, but the effect of daily intake of l-serine on behavior of animals exposed to chronic stress has not been investigated. In the present study, we exposed rats to social isolation stress for 4 weeks, and home cage test and open field test were concluded to evaluate the effect of l-serine on behavior. To investigate l-serine supplementation modifies the brain l-serine and its metabolite contents, free amino acid contents were measured by a high performance liquid chromatography. l-Serine in the drinking water increased l-serine levels in some brain areas, but changes in its metabolites were almost negligible. l-Serine decreased locomotor activity in rats exposed to a familiar environment. In addition, l-serine decreased exploratory behavior of isolated rats, even in a novel environment. Our results could suggest that daily intake of l-serine can attenuate symptoms induced by chronic stress.
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