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Vol. 33, No. 2, 2011
Issue release date: September 2011
Section title: Original Paper
Dev Neurosci 2011;33:159–169
(DOI:10.1159/000330034)

Prenatal Bystander Stress Alters Brain, Behavior, and the Epigenome of Developing Rat Offspring

Mychasiuk R.a · Schmold N.c · Ilnytskyy S.b · Kovalchuk O.b · Kolb B.a · Gibb R.a
aCanadian Centre for Behavioural Neurosciences and bDepartment of Biology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alta., and cHotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alta., Canada

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 4/26/2011 11:43:12 AM
Accepted: 6/14/2011
Published online: 9/1/2011
Issue release date: September 2011

Number of Print Pages: 11
Number of Figures: 8
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0378-5866 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9859 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/DNE

Abstract

The prenatal environment, including prenatal stress, has been extensively studied in laboratory animals and humans. However, studies of the prenatal environment usually directly stress pregnant females, but stress may come ‘indirectly’, through stress to a cage-mate. The current study used indirect prenatal bystander stress and investigated the effects on the gross morphology, pre-weaning behavior, and epigenome of rat offspring. Pregnant Long-Evans rats were housed with another female rat that underwent elevated platform stress from gestational days 12 to 16. We found that ultrasonic vocalizations of female cage-mates were disrupted following the stress procedure. After birth, offspring were tested on two behavioral tasks and sacrificed at postnatal day 21 (p21). Frontal cortex and hippocampal tissue was used to measure global DNA methylation and gene expression changes. At p21, bystander-stressed female offspring exhibited increased body weight. Offspring behavior on the negative geotaxis task was altered by prenatal bystander stress, and locomotor behavior was reduced in female offspring. Global DNA methylation increased in the frontal cortex and hippocampus of bystander-stressed offspring. Microarray analysis revealed significant gene expression level changes in 558 different genes, of which only 10 exhibited overlap between males and females or brain areas. These alterations in gene expression were associated with overrepresentation of 36 biological processes and 34 canonical pathways. Prenatal stress thus does not have to be experienced by the mother herself to influence offspring brain development. Furthermore, this type of ‘indirect’ prenatal stress alters offspring DNA methylation patterns, gene expression profiles, and behavior.

© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel


  

Author Contacts

Richelle Mychasiuk
Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neurosciences, University of Lethbridge
4401 University Drive
Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4 (Canada)
E-Mail r.mychasiuk@uleth.ca

  

Article Information

Received: April 26, 2011
Accepted after revision: June 14, 2011
Published online: September 1, 2011
Number of Print Pages : 11
Number of Figures : 8, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 48

  

Publication Details

Developmental Neuroscience

Vol. 33, No. 2, Year 2011 (Cover Date: September 2011)

Journal Editor: Levison S.W. (Newark, N.J.)
ISSN: 0378-5866 (Print), eISSN: 1421-9859 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/DNE


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: 4/26/2011 11:43:12 AM
Accepted: 6/14/2011
Published online: 9/1/2011
Issue release date: September 2011

Number of Print Pages: 11
Number of Figures: 8
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0378-5866 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9859 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/DNE


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