Document Detail

Chronic maternal stress affects growth, behaviour and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal function in juvenile offspring.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18674758     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Maternal stress during pregnancy, particularly that combined with low socioeconomic status (SES), has been linked to an increased risk for impaired behavioural and emotional development and affective disorders in children. In animal models, acute periods of prenatal stress have profound effects on hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function and behaviour. However, few studies have determined the impact of chronic exposure to stress in animal models. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of chronic maternal stress (CMS) during the 2nd half of pregnancy and nursing on growth, locomotor behaviour and HPA axis function in juvenile guinea pig offspring. Pregnant guinea pigs were exposed to a random combination of variable stressors every other day over the 2nd half of gestation and from postnatal day (pnd) 1 until weaning (pnd25). CMS mothers displayed increased basal salivary cortisol levels in the later stages of pregnancy compared to control mothers (p<0.05). The male offspring of CMS mothers had a lower bodyweight, which was maintained to weaning (p<0.01). In open-field testing, CMS male offspring showed a decrease in activity compared to controls (p<0.05). There was no effect of CMS on bodyweight or activity in female offspring. In contrast, both male and female offspring born to CMS mothers displayed increased (p<0.05) basal salivary cortisol at pnd25, but a blunted adrenocortical response to exposure to the novel open-field enclosure. In conclusion, CMS leads to modification of growth trajectory, locomotor activity and adrenocortical responses to stress in juvenile offspring. Further, males appear considerably more vulnerable to these effects than females.
Jeff Emack; Alice Kostaki; Claire-Dominique Walker; Stephen G Matthews
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-03-20
Journal Detail:
Title:  Hormones and behavior     Volume:  54     ISSN:  1095-6867     ISO Abbreviation:  Horm Behav     Publication Date:  2008 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-08-29     Completed Date:  2008-11-12     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0217764     Medline TA:  Horm Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  514-20     Citation Subset:  IM    
CIHR program in Maternal Adversity Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN), University of Toronto, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Animals, Newborn
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Growth and Development / physiology*
Guinea Pigs
Hydrocortisone / analysis
Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology*
Maternal Exposure*
Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology*
Pregnancy Outcome
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology*
Random Allocation
Saliva / chemistry
Stress, Physiological / physiopathology*
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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