Reproductive Response in Offspring Male Rats Exposed to Prenatal Stress and to Early Postnatal Stimulation

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Chen Cárdenas, S. M.; Mayer, N.; Romanini, M. C.; Rolando, A. N.; Liaudat, A. C.; Brun N.; Vivas, A.; Gauna, H. F. & Rodríguez, N.


Stress in pregnant rats alters the pattern of secretion of corticosterone (COR) and modifies transplacentally hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) fetus. Prenatal stress during the critical hypothalamic differentiation is related to decreased fertility of male offspring by an increase in the basal level of COR. This modification could induce long-term changes in the process of apoptosis in the testis. However, early postnatal handling increases maternal behavior and could reverse the effects caused by increased secretion of COR. The aim of this research was to investigate the effects of early postnatal stimulation of male rats prenatal stressed by chronic immobilization during the last two weeks of pregnancy, on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and their relationship with the activity of the HPA. Male Wistar rats 3 month olds, were separated in four groups: (a) prenatally stressed animals by immobilization (IMO), without postnatal stimulation; (b) prenatally stressed animals with postnatal stimulation; (c) control animals without prenatal stress, without postnatal stimulation and (d) control animals without prenatal stress, with postnatal stimulation. In different animals groups plasmatic levels of COR, Testosterone (T) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) were analyzed. Gonadosomatic index and testicular apoptosis was determined. In conclusion that prenatal stress by IMO increased levels of COR and inhibits the HHG axis obtaining low values of plasmatic LH and T, testicular weight, and induction of apoptosis in testes. On other hand, early postnatal stimulation results in an increase in maternal care to the offspring reversing the effects of prenatal stress on the HPG axis. This effect could be mediated by a mechanism independent of the HPA axis.

KEY WORDS: Early postnatal stimulation; Prenatal stress; HPA axis; HPG axis; Rats; Apoptosis.

How to cite this article

CHEN CÁRDENAS, S. M.; MAYER, N.; ROMANINI, M. C.; ROLANDO, A. N.; LIAUDAT, A. C.; BRUN, N.; VIVAS, A.; GAUNA, H. F. & RODRÍGUEZ, N. Reproductive response in offspring male rats exposed to prenatal stress and to early postnatal stimulation. Int. J. Morphol., 31(2):754-764, 2013.