Exogenous prenatal corticosterone exposure mimics the effects of prenatal stress on adult brain stress response systems and fear extinction behavior.
ABSTRACT Exposure to early-life stress is a risk factor for the development of cognitive and emotional disorders later in life. We previously demonstrated that prenatal stress (PNS) in rats results in long-term, stable changes in central stress-response systems and impairs the ability to extinguish conditioned fear responding, a component of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Maternal corticosterone (CORT), released during prenatal stress, is a possible mediator of these effects. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether fetal exposure to CORT at levels induced by PNS is sufficient to alter the development of adult stress neurobiology and fear extinction behavior. Pregnant dams were subject to either PNS (60min immobilization/day from ED 14-21) or a daily injection of CORT (10mg/kg), which approximated both fetal and maternal plasma CORT levels elicited during PNS. Control dams were given injections of oil vehicle. Male offspring were allowed to grow to adulthood undisturbed, at which point they were sacrificed and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), hippocampus, hypothalamus, and a section of the rostral pons containing the locus coeruleus (LC) were dissected. PNS and prenatal CORT treatment decreased glucocorticoid receptor protein levels in the mPFC, hippocampus, and hypothalamus when compared to control offspring. Both treatments also decreased tyrosine hydroxylase levels in the LC. Finally, the effect of prenatal CORT exposure on fear extinction behavior was examined following chronic stress. Prenatal CORT impaired both acquisition and recall of cue-conditioned fear extinction. This effect was additive to the impairment induced by previous chronic stress. Thus, these data suggest that fetal exposure to high levels of maternal CORT is responsible for many of the lasting neurobiological consequences of PNS as they relate to the processes underlying extinction of learned fear. The data further suggest that adverse prenatal environments constitute a risk factor for PTSD-like symptomatology, especially when combined with chronic stressors later in life.
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ABSTRACT: Prenatal stress is known to induce emotional and cognitive dysfunction in the offspring of both humans and experimental animals. Hydroxytyrosol (HT), a major polyphenol in olive oil with reported ability modulating oxidative stress and mitochondrial function, was performed to investigate its preventive effect on prenatal stress-induced behavioral and molecular alterations in offspring. Rats were exposed to restraint stress on days 14–20 of pregnancy. HT was given at doses of 10 and 50 mg/kg/day. The spontaneous alternation performance and Morris water maze confirmed the impaired learning capacity and memory performance induced by prenatal stress in both male and female offspring, and these effects were markedly restored in the HT supplement groups. Through tissue analysis of the hippocampi of male offspring, we found that the stress-induced downregulation of neural proteins, including BDNF, GAP43, synaptophysin, NMDAR1, NMDANR2A and NMDANR2B, was prevented by HT. Prenatal stress-induced low expression of glucocorticoid receptor was also increased by HT, although basal fetal serum corticosterone levels were not different among the four groups. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in prenatally stressed rats were confirmed with changes in protein oxidation, SOD activity, the expression of mitochondrial complexes and mitochondrial DNA copy number. Meanwhile, HT significantly increased transcription factors FOXO1 and FOXO3, as well as phase II enzyme-related proteins, including Nrf2 and HO-1, which may contribute to the decreased oxidative stress and increased mitochondrial function shown with HT supplementation. Taken together, these findings suggest that HT is an efficient maternal nutrient protecting neurogenesis and cognitive function in prenatally stressed offspring.The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2014.10.006 · 4.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Severe adverse life events during pregnancy may increase the risk of anxiety disorders in the offspring. Glutamate receptors are neurobiological targets in anxiety disorders. In this study, we investigated the effects of prenatal chronic mild stress (PCMS) on anxiety-like behavior by using elevated plus maze (EPM), and evaluated the effects of PCMS and/or anxiogenic challenge on glutamate receptors in different brain regions. Our results showed that PCMS increased anxiety-like behavior in both male and female offspring. Moreover, compared with the male naïve rats, male EPM rats showed a significant reduction of mGluR2/3 in the prefrontal cortex, mGluR1 and mGluR2/3 in the hippocampus, and increments of mGluR5, NR1, NR2B and PSD95 in the amygdala. In contrast, compared with female naïve rats, female EPM rats showed decreased levels of mGluR5 in the hippocampus, and mGluR2/3 and mGluR5 in the prefrontal cortex, and increased levels of NR2B and PSD95 in the amygdala. Furthermore, PCMS seemed not to affect the baseline expression of glutamate receptors in adult offspring, but induced significant alterations of them triggered by anxiogenic challenge with a sex difference. These data strengthen the pathophysiological hypothesis that prenatal stress as a risk factor involves in the development of anxiety disorder in the offspring. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 01/2015; 41. DOI:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.01.003 · 2.92 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background The postnatal period is a critical time window during which inflammatory events have significant and enduring effects on the brain, and as a consequence, induce alterations of emotional behavior and/or cognition later in life. However, the long-term effect of neonatal inflammation on behavior during adolescence, a sensitive period for the development of neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders, has been little studied. In this study, we examined whether an early-life inflammatory challenge could alter emotional behaviors and spatial memory at adolescence and adulthood and whether stress axis activity, inflammatory response and neurogenesis were affected.Methods Lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 100 ¿g/kg) was administered to mice on postnatal day (PND) 14 and cytokine expression was measured in the plasma and in brain structures 3 hours later. Anxiety-like and depressive-like behavior (measured in the novelty-suppressed feeding test and the forced swim test, respectively) and spatial memory (Y-maze test) were measured at adolescence (PND30) and adulthood (PND90). Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity (plasma corticosterone and glucocorticoid receptors in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex) was measured at adulthood. In addition, the impact of a novel adult LPS challenge (100 ¿/kg) was measured on spatial memory (Y-maze test), neurogenesis (doublecortin-positive cell numbers in the hippocampus) and plasma cytokine expression.ResultsFirst, we show in PND14 pups that a peripheral administration of LPS induced the expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the plasma and brain structures that were studied 3 hours after administration. Anxiety-like behavior was altered in adolescent, but not in adult, mice, whereas depressive-like behavior was spared at adolescence and increased at adulthood. This was accompanied by a decreased phosphorylation of the glucocorticoid receptor in the prefrontal cortex, with no effect on corticosterone levels. Second, neonatal LPS treatment had no effect on spatial memory in adolescence and adulthood. However, a second challenge of LPS in adulthood impaired spatial memory performance and neurogenesis and increased circulating levels of CCL2.Conclusions Our study shows for the first time, in mice, that a peripheral LPS treatment at PND14 differentially alters emotional behaviors, but not spatial memory, at adolescence and adulthood. The behavioral effect of LPS at PND14 could be attributed to HPA axis deregulation and neurogenesis impairment.Journal of Neuroinflammation 09/2014; 11(1):155. DOI:10.1186/s12974-014-0155-x · 4.90 Impact Factor