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TitleAnxiety-like behavior and structural changes of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) in gestational protein-restricted male offspring
Author(s)Torres, D. B.
Lopes, A.
Rodrigues, Ana João
Cerqueira, João José
Sousa, Nuno
Gontijo, J. A. R.
Boer, P. A.
KeywordsAnxiety-like behavior
Dendritic remodeling
Fetal programming
Gestational protein restriction
Issue dateOct-2018
PublisherCambridge University Press
JournalJournal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
CitationTorres, D. B., Lopes, A., Rodrigues, A. J., Cerqueira, J. J., Sousa, N., Gontijo, J. A. R., & Boer, P. A. (2018). Anxiety-like behavior and structural changes of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) in gestational protein-restricted male offspring. Journal of developmental origins of health and disease, 1-8
Abstract(s)Animal evidence has suggested that maternal emotional and nutritional stress during pregnancy is associated with behavioral outcomes in offspring. The nature of the stresses applied may differ, but it is often assumed that the mother's hippocampus-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HHPA) axis response releases higher levels of glucocorticoid hormones. The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is in a pivotal position to regulate the HHPA axis and the stress response, and it has been implicated in anxiety behavior. In the current study, to search whether BNST structural changes and neurochemical alterations are associated with anxiety-related behavior in adult gestational protein-restricted offspring relative to an age-matched normal protein diet (NP) rats, we conduct behavioral tests and, BNST dendritic tree analysis by Sholl analysis, associated to immunoblotting-protein quantification [11β-HSD2, GR, MR, AT1R, 5HT1A and 5HT2A, corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRH) and CRH1]. Dams were maintained either on isocaloric standard rodent chow [with NP content, 17% casein or low protein content (LP), 6% casein] chow throughout their entire pregnancy. Here, in rats subjected to gestational protein restriction, we found: (a) a significant reduction in dendritic length and impoverished dendritic arborization in BNST neurons; (b) an elevated plasmatic corticosterone levels; and (c) associated with enhanced anxiety-like behavior when compared with age-matched NP offspring. Moreover, altered protein (11β-HSD2, GR, MR and type 1 CRH receptors) expressions may underlie the increase in anxiety-like behavior in LP offspring. This work represents the first demonstration that BNST developmental plasticity by maternal protein restriction, resulting in fine structural changes and neurochemical alterations that are associated with modified behavioral states.
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AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:ICVS - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais com Referee

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