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Sex specific effects of pre-pubertal stress on hippocampal neurogenesis and behaviour

Brydges, Nichola, Moon, Anna, Rule, Lowenna, Watkin, Holly, Thomas, Kerrie and Hall, Jeremy 2018. Sex specific effects of pre-pubertal stress on hippocampal neurogenesis and behaviour. Translational Psychiatry , 271. 10.1038/s41398-018-0322-4

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Abstract

Experience of traumatic events in childhood is linked to an elevated risk of developing psychiatric disorders in adulthood. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are not fully understood. The limbic system, particularly the hippocampus, is significantly impacted by childhood trauma. In particular, it has been hypothesised that childhood stress may impact adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) and related behaviours, conferring increased risk for later mental illness. Stress in utero can lead to impaired hippocampal synaptic plasticity, and stress in the first 2–3 weeks of life reduces AHN in animal models. Less is known about the effects of stress in the post-weaning, pre-pubertal phase, a developmental time-point more akin to human childhood. Therefore, we investigated persistent effects of pre-pubertal stress (PPS) on functional and molecular aspects of the hippocampus. AHN was altered following PPS in male rats only. Specifically males showed reduced production of new neurons following PPS, but increased survival in the ventral dentate gyrus. In adult males, but not females, pattern separation and trace fear conditioning, behaviours that rely heavily on AHN, were also impaired after PPS. PPS also increased the expression of parvalbumin-positive GABAergic interneurons in the ventral dentate gyrus and increased glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 expression in the ventral hilus, in males only. Our results demonstrate the lasting effects of PPS on the hippocampus in a sex- and time-dependent manner, provide a potential mechanistic link between PPS and later behavioural impairments, and highlight sex differences in vulnerability to neuropsychiatric conditions after early-life stress

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 2158-3188
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 November 2018
Date of Acceptance: 13 November 2018
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 21:58
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/116875

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