Trans-generational effects of prenatal stress on the neuroendocrine stress axis in rats

Natalia J Grundwald, Paula Brunton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

Exposure to social stress during pregnancy results in hyperactive hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis responses to stress in the adult offspring. Here the aim was to test whether the effects of prenatal stress (PNS; exposure to repeated social stress for 5 days during late pregnancy) on HPA axis function are transmitted to the second filial generation (F2) via the maternal line. F1 control and F1 PNS female rats were mated with control males and housed under non-stress conditions throughout pregnancy. HPA axis responses to restraint and systemic interleukin-1β (IL-1β) were assessed in the adult F2 offspring.
ACTH and corticosterone responses to acute stress were significantly greater/prolonged in the F2 PNS females, compared with F2 control females. This was associated with greater corticotropin releasing hormone (Crh) mRNA expression in the paraventricular nucleus. Moreover, glucocorticoid (Gr) and mineralocorticoid receptor (Mr) mRNA expression in the hippocampus was significantly reduced in the F2 PNS females, compared with controls. In the F2 males, HPA axis responses to IL-1β were not different between control and PNS rats, however ACTH and corticosterone secretion following restraint stress was markedly attenuated in the F2 PNS group, and hippocampal Gr and Mr mRNA expression was greater compared with controls. In conclusion, PNS affects HPA axis function in the F2 offspring in a sex-dependent manner. In F2 PNS females, greater HPA axis responses were associated with potentially impaired glucocorticoid negative feedback control; whereas in F2 PNS males enhanced glucocorticoid negative feedback control may explain attenuated HPA axis responses to stress.
[Support: BBSRC]
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015
Event45th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Sep 201511 Sep 2015

Conference

Conference45th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityEdinburgh
Period8/09/1511/09/15

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