Age-dependent differences on neurochemistry and behavior in rats raised with low and high levels of maternal care
Rojas Carvajal, Mijail
Brenes Sáenz, Juan Carlos
Sequeira Cordero, Andrey
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In laboratory rats, naturally-occurring variations in maternal care have been used to study the neurobehavioral consequences of maternal nursing and to model the early-life adversity associated with many psychiatric disorders. This study aimed to determine the role of maternal care on behavior and monoamine concentrations at the prepubertal and young adulthood ages. We observed the licking/grooming (LG) behavior of Sprague-Dawley (SD) dams and assigned the litter to either low (LLG) or high (HLG) LG groups. Behavioral testing in the male offspring consisted of the open-field test, the elevated plus-maze, and the forced swimming test. Afterward, neurotransmitters contents were measured in the prefrontal cortex, the nucleus accumbens, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. We found that at the prepubertal stage, the effects of maternal care were only noticeable in the elevated plus-maze and the serotonin concentration in the nucleus accumbens. At adulthood, body weight and monoamines contents increased substantially in LLG rats. Specifically, they showed higher serotonin contents with a reduced turnover in almost all brain regions, followed by higher contents of norepinephrine and dopamine, especially in the nucleus accumbens. Changes in monoamines concentrations seem to be independent of the behavioral phenotype shaped by variations in maternal care, as behavioral effects were somewhat weak in both experiments. If higher monoamines contents in LLG rats represent an adaptive mechanism to deal with further adverse events, the behavioral paradigms used here were insufficiently challenging to bring out noticeable differences, at least in SD rats.
External link to the item10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112054
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