Maternal stress induces adult reduced REM sleep and melatonin level.
ABSTRACT We have previously reported that neonatal maternal deprivation (MD) resulted in a decrease of total sleep and an increase of orexin A in adult rats. Now, we characterized features of sleep, activity, and melatonin levels in rats neonatally treated with MD and control (MC) procedures. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with either MD or MC procedures for 10 days starting at postnatal day 4. At 3 months of age, sleep was recorded for 48 h in one set of MD and MC rats, while another set of MD and MC rats was measured for locomotor activity (under LD = 12:12). Melatonin levels in the blood, pineal gland, and hypothalamus were measured as well as clock protein level in the hypothalamus. Compared to the MC rats, REM sleep in the MD rats was significantly reduced in the light periods but not in the dark periods. Both quiet wake and total wake in the MD rats were significantly increased during the light period compared to the MC rats. The weight of the pineal gland of the MD rats was significantly smaller than in MC rats. Melatonin levels of the MD group were significantly reduced in the pineal gland and hypothalamus compared to the MC group. No significant difference was identified between groups in the expression of the clock protein in the hypothalamus. Neonatal MD resulted in reduced REM sleep and melatonin levels, without changes of circadian cycle of locomotor activity and levels of clock protein.
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ABSTRACT: The circadian system develops and changes in a gradual and programmed process over the lifespan. Early in life, maternal care represents an important zeitgeber and thus contributes to the development of circadian rhythmicity. Exposure to early life stress may affect circadian processes and induce a latent circadian disturbance evident after exposure to later life stress. Disturbance of the normal regulation of circadian rhythmicity is surmised to be an etiological factor in depression. We used postnatal maternal separation in rats to investigate how the early life environment might modify the circadian response to later life unpredictable and chronic stress. During postnatal days 2-14, male Wistar rats (n = 8 per group) were daily separated from their mothers for a period of either 180 min (long maternal separation; LMS) or 10 min (brief maternal separation; BMS). In adulthood, rats were exposed to chronic mild stress (CMS) for 4 weeks. Body temperature, locomotor activity and heart rate were measured and compared before and after CMS exposure. LMS offspring showed a delayed body temperature acrophase compared to BMS offspring. Otherwise, adult LMS and BMS offspring demonstrated similar diurnal rhythms of body temperature, locomotor activity and heart rate. Exposure to CMS provoked a stronger and longer lasting hypothermia in LMS rats than in BMS rats. The thermoregulatory response appears to be moderated by maternal care following reunion, an observation made in the LMS group only. The results show that early life stress (LMS) in an early developmental stage induced a thermoregulatory disturbance evident upon exposure to unpredictable adult life stressors.Chronobiology International 10/2013; · 4.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Exposure to early life stress may profoundly influence the developing brain in lasting ways. Neuropsychiatric disorders associated with early life adversity may involve neural changes reflected in EEG power as a measure of brain activity and disturbed sleep. The main aim of the present study was for the first time to characterize possible changes in adult EEG power after postnatal maternal separation in rats. Furthermore, in the same animals, we investigated how EEG power and sleep architecture were affected after exposure to a chronic mild stress protocol. During postnatal day 2-14 male rats were exposed to either long maternal separation (180 min) or brief maternal separation (10 min). Long maternally separated offspring showed a sleep-wake nonspecific reduction in adult EEG power at the frontal EEG derivation compared to the brief maternally separated group. The quality of slow wave sleep differed as the long maternally separated group showed lower delta power in the frontal-frontal EEG and a slower reduction of the sleep pressure. Exposure to chronic mild stress led to a lower EEG power in both groups. Chronic exposure to mild stressors affected sleep differently in the two groups of maternal separation. Long maternally separated offspring showed more total sleep time, more episodes of rapid eye movement sleep and higher percentage of non-rapid eye movement episodes ending in rapid eye movement sleep compared to brief maternal separation. Chronic stress affected similarly other sleep parameters and flattened the sleep homeostasis curves in all offspring. The results confirm that early environmental conditions modulate the brain functioning in a long-lasting way.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e69923. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Little is known about the relation between pineal volume and insomnia. Melatonin promotes sleep processes and, administered as a drug, it is suitable to improve primary and secondary sleep disorders in humans. Recent magnetic resonance imaging studies suggest that human plasma and saliva melatonin levels are partially determined by the pineal gland volume. This study compares the pineal volume in a group of patients with primary insomnia to a group of healthy people without sleep disturbance. Pineal gland volume (PGV) was measured on the basis of high-resolution 3 Tesla MRI (T1-magnetization prepared rapid gradient echo) in 23 patients and 27 controls, matched for age, gender and educational status. Volume measurements were performed conventionally by manual delineation of the pineal borders in multi-planar reconstructed images. Pineal gland volume was significantly smaller (P < 0.001) in patients (48.9 ± 26.6 mm(3) ) than in controls (79 ± 30.2 mm(3) ). In patients PGV correlated negatively with age (r = -0.532; P = 0.026). Adjusting for the effect of age, PGV and rapid eye movement (REM) latency showed a significant positive correlation (rS = 0.711, P < 0.001) in patients. Pineal volume appears to be reduced in patients with primary insomnia compared to healthy controls. Further studies are needed to clarify whether low pineal volume is the basis or the consequence of functional sleep changes to elucidate the molecular pathology for the pineal volume loss in primary insomnia.Journal of Sleep Research 01/2014; · 3.04 Impact Factor