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TitleNeurodevelopment milestone abnormalities in rats exposed to stress in early life
Author(s)Mesquita, Ana Raquel Marcelino
Pêgo, José M.
Summavielle, Teresa
Maciel, P.
Almeida, O. F. X.
Sousa, Nuno
Maternal separation
Vestibular region
neurological reflexes
vestibular area
monoaminergic systems
Issue date22-Jun-2007
Citation"Neuroscience". ISSN 0306-4522. 147 (Jun. 2007) 1022-1033.
Abstract(s)Manipulation of the corticosteroid milieu by interfering with the mother–newborn relationship has received much attention because of its potential bearing on psychopathology later in life. In the present study, infant rats that were deprived of maternal contact between the 2nd and the 15th postnatal days (MS2–15) for 6 h/day were subjected to a systematic assessment of neurodevelopmental milestones between postnatal days 2 and 21. The analyses included measurements of physical growth and maturation and evaluation of neurological reflexes. Although some somatic milestones (e.g. eye opening) were anticipated, MS2–15 animals showed retardation in the acquisition of postural reflex, air righting and surface righting reflexes, and in the wire suspension test; the latter two abnormalities were only found in males. A gender effect was also observed in negative geotaxis, with retardation being observed in females but not males. To better understand the delay of neurological maturation in MS2–15 rats, we determined the levels of various monoamines in different regions of the brain stem, including the vestibular area, the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area and dorsal raphe nuclei. In the vestibular region of MS2–15 rats the levels of 5-HT were reduced, while 5-HT turnover was increased. There was also a significant increase of the 5-HT turnover in MS2–15 animals in the raphe nuclei, mainly due to increased 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) levels, and an increase of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) levels in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of stressed females. No significant differences were found in the immunohistochemical sections for tyrosine and tryptophan hydroxylase in these regions of the brain stem. In conclusion, the present results show that postnatal stress induces signs of neurological pathology that may contribute to the genesis of behavioral abnormalities later in life.
Publisher versiondoi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.04.007
AccessRestricted access (UMinho)
Appears in Collections:CIPsi - Artigos (Papers)
ICVS - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais com Referee

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