Preconception paternal stress : impact on offspring epigenome, brain, and behavior throughout the lifespan

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Harker, Allonna
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Neuroscience
A rich literature has been amassed demonstrating the impact of early experience on the structure and function of the developing brain. Adverse maternal experience during the perinatal period has been implicated as a major risk factor for the development of psychopathologies later in life. Little information is available regarding the impact of experience during the preconception period. As spermatogenesis is a continuous process, experiences that have the ability to alter epigenetic regulation in fathers may actually change developmental trajectories of offspring. The aim of this thesis was to examine the lifelong impact of preconception paternal stress on the epigenome, brain morphology, and behavior of both male and female developing rat offspring. Profound and enduring changes in DNA methylation patterns, neuroanatomical measures, and behavioral outcomes of paternally stressed offspring were observed. Results from this study clearly demonstrate that preconception paternal stress during spermatogenesis can influence offspring epigenome, brain, and behavior.
paternal , stress , golgi , development , behavior