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Maternal social stress during late pregnancy affects hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function and brain neurotransmitter systems in pig offspring

Abstract : Maternal stress in pregnant sows may induce long-lasting alterations in the behavior, physiology, and immunity of their offspring. The aim of the present study was to investigate the consequences of repeated social stress during late gestation on determinants of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis and on hippocampal neurotransmitter profiles in pig offspring. All pregnant gilts were housed in pairs. Each Stress gilt was mixed with an unfamiliar gilt twice a week between days 77 and 105 of gestation (n = 18). Control gilts were housed in stable pairs over the same period (n = 18). Plasma cortisol and corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG) were measured in 1 male and 1 female per litter in a basal situation on postnatal days (PND) 4, 26, and 60 and in a stressful situation at PND 28 (2 d after weaning) and 62 (2 d after relocation to a new building). Prenatal stress had no effect on plasma cortisol, but it decreased CBG at PND 26. Brain and adrenals were collected from 1 female per litter after weaning or relocation at PND 28 and PND 62. Adrenals were additionally collected at PND 4. Glucocorticoid receptor binding in the hippocampus and hypothalamus was not affected by prenatal treatment. However, prenatal stress increased the expression of 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 mRNA in the hippocampus after weaning (P < 0.05) and after relocation (P = 0.08). In addition, prenatally stressed piglets showed an increased 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid to 5-hydroxytryptamine ratio in the hippocampus after weaning and increased hippocampal c-fos mRNA expression and noradrenaline concentration after relocation (P < 0.05). Prenatal stress also increased the relative adrenal weight at PND 4 and the cell density in the cortex and the medulla at PND 28, whereas no difference was found for activities of catecholamine-synthesising enzymes in the medulla. Overall, our data indicate that repeated social stress during pregnancy has long-lasting consequences on hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis and hippocampal neurotransmitter activity in the offspring of pigs. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Wilfred Otten, E. Kanitz, David Couret, Isabelle Veissier, Armelle Prunier, et al.. Maternal social stress during late pregnancy affects hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function and brain neurotransmitter systems in pig offspring. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, 2010, 38 (3), pp.146-156. ⟨10.1016/j.domaniend.2009.09.002⟩. ⟨hal-02664397⟩



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