3 years ago

Altered corticosterone levels and social play behavior after prolonged maternal separation in adolescent male but not female Wistar rats

Early-life socio-environmental factors are crucial for normal developmental processes; adverse experiences early in life can therefore lead to detrimental effects in several physiological systems. The aim of this study was to examine short-term effects of early adverse experiences in a maternal separation (MS) rodent model. In this study two separation conditions were used: daily 15- (MS15) or 360-min (MS360) separation of the litter from the dam during postnatal day 1–21. In early adolescence, male and female offspring were subjected to a single-isolation procedure with analysis of corticosterone levels prior to and after isolation. In addition, social play behavior was assessed during mid-adolescence. There was a clear difference between male and female offspring in both tests performed. There was no difference in corticosterone levels between the female MS groups, whereas MS360 males showed higher baseline and recovery corticosterone levels than MS15 males. The amount of pinning, a specific social play behavior, was affected by rearing with MS360 males having a higher frequency than MS15 males, while there was no difference between the female MS groups. The observation that males but not females are affected by MS360 has previously been reported for adult animals, and herein we show that this difference is present already in adolescence. Changes in corticosterone levels and social behavior following early-life adversity have been associated with adult behavioral alterations, and our results confirm that these changes emerge already within adolescence.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0018506X16300344

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