Research Papers:

Impact of anger emotional stress before pregnancy on adult male offspring

Sheng Wei, Xinyang Xiao, Jieqiong Wang, Shiguang Sun, Zifa Li, Kaiyong Xu, Fang Li, Jie Gao, Dehao Zhu and Mingqi Qiao _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:98837-98852. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22007

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Sheng Wei1,2,3, Xinyang Xiao3, Jieqiong Wang2, Shiguang Sun4, Zifa Li3, Kaiyong Xu3, Fang Li5, Jie Gao2, Dehao Zhu3 and Mingqi Qiao2

1Department of Neurosurgery, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Brain Science Research Institute, Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China

2Lab of Traditional Chinese Medicine Classical Theory, Ministry of Education, Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan 250355, China

3Lab of Behavioral Brain Analysis, Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan 250355, China

4Second Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shandong Provincial Hospital of Integrated Medicine, Jinan 250001, China

5Fengtai Maternal and Children’s Health Hospital of Beijing, Beijing 100069, China

Correspondence to:

Mingqi Qiao, email: qmingqi@163.com

Sheng Wei, email: waysaint@163.com

Keywords: stress before pregnancy, anger emotion, aggressive behavior test, resident intruder paradigm, monoamine neurotransmitters

Received: June 21, 2017     Accepted: October 02, 2017     Published: October 24, 2017


Previous studies have reported that maternal chronic stress or depression is linked to an increased risk of affective disorders in progeny. However, the impact of maternal chronic stress before pregnancy on the progeny of animal models is unknown. We investigated the behaviors and the neurobiology of 60-day-old male offspring of female rats subjected to 21 days of resident-intruder stress before pregnancy. An anger stressed parental rat model was established using the resident-intruder paradigm and it was evaluated using behavioral tests. Anger stressed maternal rats showed a significant increase in locomotion and aggression but a reduction in sucrose preference. Offspring subjected to pre-gestational anger stress displayed enhanced aggressive behaviors, reduced anxiety, and sucrose preference. Further, offspring subjected to pre-gestational stress showed significant impairments in the recognition index (RI) on the object recognition test and the number of platform crossings in the Morris water maze test. The monoaminergic system was significantly altered in pre-gestationally stressed offspring, and the expression of phosphorylated cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element binding protein (P-CREB), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and serotonin transporter (SERT) levels in pre-gestational stressed offspring were altered in some brain regions. Fluoxetine was used to treat pre-gestational stressed maternal rats and it significantly reduced the changes caused by stress, as evidenced by both behaviors and neural biochemical indexes in the offspring in some but not all cases. These findings suggest that anger stress before pregnancy could induce aggressive behaviors, cognitive deficits, and neurobiological alterations in offspring.

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