The influences of paternal prenatal chronic stress on offspring selected metabolic, behavioural and neurochemistry changes.
Perumal, Malishca Devani.
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Exposure to past stress and trauma during early developmental stages can permanently affect the performance and advancements of core systems in humans. Whilst many studies are investigating the lasting effects of maternal prenatal stress, there is a paucity of information on the long-term effects of paternal prenatal stress. Therefore, the present study sought to investigate the effects of parental prenatal stress on the offspring’s psychiatric behaviour, particularly the fathers, whether these can be transferred to offspring and a number of parameters commonly associated with prenatal stress. Furthermore, we evaluated the effects of parental prenatal stress on body weight, feeding behaviour and stress response. Animals had access to food and fluids ad libitum during experimentation and were randomly assigned to different groups (n=8 per group). We found that the behavioural and neurochemical manifestations in the offspring of prenatally stressed fathers suggest that stressed fathers can transfer feelings of anhedonia and social anxiety to their offspring mediated, in part, by offspring behavioural changes of depression and social anxiety as well as, a blunted serotonin response. Furthermore, when both parents were prenatally stressed their stress effect to their offspring’s behavioural and neurochemistry is augmented. This was confirmed by the behavioural manifestations of extreme anxiety, depression and social anxiety as well as, the subdued serotonin concentration. Additionally, we found that prenatally stressed fathers can impact on offspring feeding behaviour and body weight changes mediated, in part, by the offspring’s reduced food intake and body weight as well as, a dysregulated corticosterone response. Moreover, when both parents were prenatally stressed their stress effect to their offspring’s development is intermediary. This was confirmed by metabolic manifestations of increased food intake and body weight which may have primarily been accomplished by modifying the glucocorticoid system. Therefore, the prenatally stressed fathers decreased the offspring’s sociability and increased anhedonia however, they did not transfer their anxiogenic behaviour. The prenatally stressed fathers also decreased the offspring’s appetite and as a consequence their however, they did not affect the stress response.