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  • Early-life stress increases the survival of midbrain neurons during postnatal development and enhances reward-related and anxiolytic-like behaviors in a sex-dependent fashion.

Early-life stress increases the survival of midbrain neurons during postnatal development and enhances reward-related and anxiolytic-like behaviors in a sex-dependent fashion.

International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience (2015-05-20)
Agnieszka Chocyk, Iwona Majcher-Maślanka, Aleksandra Przyborowska, Marzena Maćkowiak, Krzysztof Wędzony
ABSTRACT

Clinical studies have suggested that early-life stress (ELS) increases the risk of psychopathologies that are strongly associated with dysfunction of dopaminergic neurotransmission. Thus, ELS may interfere with the development and maturation of the dopaminergic system; however, the mechanisms involved in such interference are poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the effect of ELS on the survival of specific populations of neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) during postnatal development. First, we injected bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) into pregnant rat dams on embryonic days 12, 13 and 14 to permanently label midbrain neurons. Then, after birth, the dams and litters were subjected to a maternal separation (MS) procedure to model ELS conditions. The number of BrdU+ neurons and the total number of neurons (cresyl violet+, CV+) were estimated in both male and female juvenile, adolescent, and adult rats. Moreover, sucrose preference and anxiety-like behaviors were studied during adulthood. We found that MS permanently increased the number of BrdU+ and CV+ neurons in the VTA of males. In the SNc, a temporary increase in the number of BrdU+ neurons was observed in juvenile MS males; however, only adult MS males displayed an increase in the number of CV+ neurons. Immunofluorescence analysis implied that MS affected the fate of non-dopaminergic neurons. MS males displayed anxiolytic-like behavior and an increase in sucrose preference. These results suggest that ELS induces distinct dysregulation in the midbrain circuitry of males, which may lead to sex-specific psychopathology of the reward system.

MATERIALS
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Brand
Product Description

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