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Prenatal food restriction induces neurobehavioral abnormalities in adult female offspring rats and alters intrauterine programming

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Abstract

The higher risk of adult neuropsychiatric diseases in individuals with low fetal birth weight may be related to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling pathway inhibition. Here, we investigated whether prenatal food restriction (PFR) induces neurobehavioral alterations in adult female offspring and explored the underlying intrauterine programming mechanism. Pregnant Wistar rats in the PFR group were fed 50% of the daily food intake of control rats from gestational day (GD) 11 to 20; some pregnant rats were sacrificed at GD20, and the remaining female pups had normal delivery and were fed a post-weaning high-fat diet (HFD) and half of them were exposed to an unpredictable chronic stress (UCS) from postnatal week (PW) 21. All adult female offspring were sacrificed at PW24. At GD20, PFR altered fetal hippocampal structure and function, increased glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression, and decreased mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), BDNF and synaptic plasticity-related gene expressions. At PW24, PFR induced depression-like behavioral abnormalities in adult rat offspring fed an HFD. These rats exhibited depression- and anxiety-like behavioral changes after HFD/UCS. Furthermore, the hippocampal morphology of the PFR group showed abnormal changes in adult offspring fed an HFD and more serious damage after HFD/UCS. These changes were accompanied by increased serum corticosterone levels, elevated GR expression, and reduced expression of the BDNF signaling pathway and synaptic plasticity-related genes in the hippocampus. In conclusion, PFR may induce neurobehavioral abnormalities in adult offspring, especially those exposed to UCS, through high levels of glucocorticoids, which increase hippocampal GR expression and decrease BDNF expression.

Graphical abstract: Prenatal food restriction induces neurobehavioral abnormalities in adult female offspring rats and alters intrauterine programming

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 May 2017, accepted on 21 Jan 2018 and first published on 22 Jan 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TX00133A
Citation: Toxicol. Res., 2018, Advance Article
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    Prenatal food restriction induces neurobehavioral abnormalities in adult female offspring rats and alters intrauterine programming

    B. He, D. Xu, C. Zhang, L. Zhang and H. Wang, Toxicol. Res., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7TX00133A

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