Effects of maternal preconception stress on brain and behavior in male and female offspring

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Jenkins, Serena
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Neuroscience
Brain and behavior are shaped by experience. Stress during the preconception period is a new topic of interest, as it involves both prospective parents. The current study examined how maternal preconception stress impacts the development of offspring brain and behavior throughout the lifespan. Methods mirror those used in studies on paternal preconception stress, which allowed direct comparison between the effects on offspring when preconception stress is experienced by each parent. Female rats experienced stress for 27 days immediately prior to mating, and offspring completed a battery of behavioral tests beginning in early life and continuing into adulthood. Offspring brain was examined at weaning and in adulthood. Major findings include increased anxiety-like behavior, impaired working memory, deficits in fine motor control, decreased body weight, and reduced cortical thickness. Male offspring were disproportionately affected. Maternal preconception stress affects offspring similarly to stress at other times, but less severely than paternal preconception stress.
maternal preconception stress , offspring behavior development , offspring brain development , preconception stress effects on offspring , stress research