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      Prenatal stressors in rodents: Effects on behavior

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          Abstract

          The current review focuses on studies in rodents published since 2008 and explores possible reasons for any differences they report in the effects of gestational stress on various types of behavior in the offspring. An abundance of experimental data shows that different maternal stressors in rodents can replicate some of the abnormalities in offspring behavior observed in humans. These include, anxiety, in juvenile and adult rats and mice, assessed in the elevated plus maze and open field tests and depression, detected in the forced swim and sucrose-preference tests. Deficits were reported in social interaction that is suggestive of pathology associated with schizophrenia, and in spatial learning and memory in adult rats in the Morris water maze test, but in most studies only males were tested. There were too few studies on the novel object recognition test at different inter-trial intervals to enable a conclusion about the effect of prenatal stress and whether any deficits are more prevalent in males. Among hippocampal glutamate receptors, NR2B was the only subtype consistently reduced in association with learning deficits. However, like in humans with schizophrenia and depression, prenatal stress lowered hippocampal levels of BDNF, which were closely correlated with decreases in hippocampal long-term potentiation. In mice, down-regulation of BDNF appeared to occur through the action of gene-methylating enzymes that are already increased above controls in prenatally-stressed neonates. In conclusion, the data obtained so far from experiments in rodents lend support to a physiological basis for the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia and depression.

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          Developmental and regional expression in the rat brain and functional properties of four NMDA receptors.

          An in situ study of mRNAs encoding NMDA receptor subunits in the developing rat CNS revealed that, at all stages, the NR1 gene is expressed in virtually all neurons, whereas the four NR2 transcripts display distinct expression patterns. NR2B and NR2D mRNAs occur prenatally, whereas NR2A and NR2C mRNAs are first detected near birth. All transcripts except NR2D peak around P20. NR2D mRNA, present mainly in midbrain structures, peaks around P7 and thereafter decreases to adult levels. Postnatally, NR2B and NR2C transcript levels change in opposite directions in the cerebellar internal granule cell layer. In the adult hippocampus, NR2A and NR2B mRNAs are prominent in CA1 and CA3 pyramidal cells, but NR2C and NR2D mRNAs occur in different subsets of interneurons. Recombinant binary NR1-NR2 channels show comparable Ca2+ permeabilities, but marked differences in voltage-dependent Mg2+ block and in offset decay time constants. Thus, the distinct expression profiles and functional properties of NR2 subunits provide a basis for NMDA channel heterogeneity in the brain.
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            Behavioural despair in rats: a new model sensitive to antidepressant treatments.

            Rats when forced to swim in a cylinder from which they cannot escape will, after an initial period of vigorous activity, adopt a characteristic immobile posture which can be readily identified. Immobility was reduced by various clinically effective antidepressant drugs at doses which otherwise decreased spontaneous motor activity in an open field. Antidepressants could thus be distinguished from psychostimulants which decreased immobility at doses which increased general activity. Anxiolytic compounds did not affect immobility whereas major tranquilisers enhanced it. Immobility was also reduced by electroconvulsive shock, REM sleep deprivation and "enrichment" of the environment. It was concluded that immobility reflects a state of lowered mood in the rat which is selectively sensitive to antidepressant treatments. Positive findings with atypical antidepressant drugs such as iprindole and mianserin suggest that the method may be capable of discovering new antidepressants hitherto undetectable with classical pharmacological tests.
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              The locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system: modulation of behavioral state and state-dependent cognitive processes.

              Through a widespread efferent projection system, the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system supplies norepinephrine throughout the central nervous system. Initial studies provided critical insight into the basic organization and properties of this system. More recent work identifies a complicated array of behavioral and electrophysiological actions that have in common the facilitation of processing of relevant, or salient, information. This involves two basic levels of action. First, the system contributes to the initiation and maintenance of behavioral and forebrain neuronal activity states appropriate for the collection of sensory information (e.g. waking). Second, within the waking state, this system modulates the collection and processing of salient sensory information through a diversity of concentration-dependent actions within cortical and subcortical sensory, attention, and memory circuits. Norepinephrine-dependent modulation of long-term alterations in synaptic strength, gene transcription and other processes suggest a potentially critical role of this neurotransmitter system in experience-dependent alterations in neural function and behavior. The ability of a given stimulus to increase locus coeruleus discharge activity appears independent of affective valence (appetitive vs. aversive). Combined, these observations suggest that the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system is a critical component of the neural architecture supporting interaction with, and navigation through, a complex world. These observations further suggest that dysregulation of locus coeruleus-noradrenergic neurotransmission may contribute to cognitive and/or arousal dysfunction associated with a variety of psychiatric disorders, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, sleep and arousal disorders, as well as certain affective disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Independent of an etiological role in these disorders, the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system represents an appropriate target for pharmacological treatment of specific attention, memory and/or arousal dysfunction associated with a variety of behavioral/cognitive disorders.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Neurobiol Stress
                Neurobiol Stress
                Neurobiology of Stress
                Elsevier
                2352-2895
                29 August 2016
                February 2017
                29 August 2016
                : 6
                : 3-13
                Affiliations
                [1]Institute of Drug Research, Hebrew University Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem 91120, Israel
                Article
                S2352-2895(16)30013-3
                10.1016/j.ynstr.2016.08.004
                5314420
                28229104
                95a845ba-2d6e-43d5-bdc2-39a475f8af6c
                © 2016 Published by Elsevier Inc.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                Categories
                Article

                anxiety and depressive-like behavior,bdnf,epigenetic mechanisms,glutamate receptors,memory,social interaction

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