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Stress/aggressiveness-induced immune changes are altered in adult rats submitted to neonatal malnutrition.


Aggression, physiology, psychology, Aging, immunology, Animals, Antibodies, blood, Antibody Formation, Behavior, Animal, Corticosterone, secretion, Disease Models, Animal, Food Deprivation, Humans, Immune System, physiopathology, Infant, Infant Nutrition Disorders, metabolism, Infant, Newborn, Leukocyte Count, Male, Malnutrition, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Social Behavior, Stress, Psychological, Time

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      Neonatal malnutrition induces metabolic and endocrine changes that have beneficial effects on the neonatal in the short term but, in the longer term, these alterations lead to maladaptations. We investigated the effect of neonatal malnutrition on immune responses in adult rats submitted or not to an aggressiveness test. Male Wistar rats were distributed to one of two groups according to their mothers' diet during lactation: the well-nourished group (group C, n = 42, receiving 23% of protein) and the malnourished group (group MN, n = 42, receiving 8% of protein). After weaning, all rats received normoproteic diet. Ninety days after birth, each group was subdivided into three subgroups: control rats (n = 14, respectively), aggressive rats (n = 14, respectively) and rats receiving foot shock (FS; n = 14, respectively). Plasma corticosterone concentration was measured after FS sessions. Leukocyte counts and humoral immunity were evaluated. In neonatal malnourished animals, FS-induced stress reduced plasma corticosterone concentration. Intraspecific aggressiveness induced alterations in leukocyte counts and antibody titers 7 and 15 days after immunization. Neonatal malnourished animals showed no changes in the immune parameters evaluated. Expression of intraspecific aggressiveness activates the immune system. Neonatal malnutrition seems to have a long-lasting effect on components of both neuroendocrine and immune functions.

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