TRANS-GENERATIONAL EFFECTS OF MATERNAL EXPOSURE TO SOCIAL STRESS IN RATS

Natalia J Grundwald, Paula Brunton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

Background: Prenatal Stress (PNS) affects many traits in first filial generation including stress hyper-responsiveness and anxiety-like behaviour. Little is known about the transfer of these traits to subsequent generations.

Aim: To investigate whether the effects of PNS are transmitted to the second filial (F2) generation.

Methods: Pregnant rats were exposed to social stress (Resident-Intruder paradigm) during the last 5 days of pregnancy. The female PNS offspring were mated at 3 months of age with control stud males and left undisturbed throughout their pregnancy. The F2 offspring were studied from birth until 6 months of age. Anxiety-like behaviour was investigated using: the open-field test, dark-light box and elevated plus maze. Whether F2 rats exhibited a depressive-like phenotype was also investigated using the forced swim test. Body weight was monitored throughout.

Results: F2 rats had lower birth weight compared to controls and this was maintained throughout the lifetime. The F2 males exhibited increased anxiety-like behaviour compared with control males, while F2 females showed differences in anxiety that are dependent on their estrous cycle stage. No differences were detected between F2 and control rats in the forced swim test.

Conclusions: Some of the effects of prenatal stress can be transferred to the next generation. Previously we showed that PNS increases anxiety-like behaviour in F1 rats and we now show that this effect can be transmitted to the F2 generation, in a sex-dependent manner.

Financial Support: BBSRC
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
Event9th FENS Forum of Neuroscience - Milan, Italy
Duration: 5 Jul 20149 Jul 2014

Conference

Conference9th FENS Forum of Neuroscience
Country/TerritoryItaly
CityMilan
Period5/07/149/07/14

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