Monday, March 31, 2014

Multigenerational Effects of Stress in a Rat Model

A recent paper in Hormones and Behavior describes a rat model of social stress and its intergenerational effects. The study investigated the effects of stress (exposure to intruding males) on lactating rat mothers on their offspring and offspring's offspring. These stressed mothers groomed and fed their infants less often, and were more aggressive. Upon reaching adulthood and breeding, offspring females (F1) showed a deficit in maternal care, as well as decreased oxytocin, vasopressin, and prolactin gene expression. Their own offspring (F2) demonstrated decreased social activity as juveniles and adults, as well as depressed plasma corticosterone.The authors propose that this system offers a useful model for human anxiety and depression.

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