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Behaviour of adult 5-HT1a receptor knockout mice exposed to stress during development

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Kiryanova V, Smith VM, Antle MC, Dyck RH (2017) Behaviour of adult 5-HT1a receptor knockout mice exposed to stress during development, Neuroscience


Chronic maternal stress during pregnancy can have long-term, detrimental consequences for the offspring. An understanding of the mechanisms responsible for mediating these effects is essential for devising therapeutic interventions. Here, we examined whether serotonin 1A receptor (5-HT1AR) mediates the effects of maternal stress on the behavioral outcomes of the offspring as adults. Heterozygous (HET) mouse dams were bred with HET males and were randomly assigned to stress or control groups. Pregnant dams in the stress group were exposed to a regime of chronic unpredictable stress from embryonic day 7 to 18. At two months of age, groups of male and female wildtype (WT), HET, and knockout (KO) offspring underwent a comprehensive behavioral test battery that included tests of social behavior, memory, aggression, anxiety, sensorimotor information processing, and exploratory and risk assessment behaviors. Independent of genotype, prenatal stress resulted in a change in locomotor activity and fear memory in male mice and a change in prepulse inhibition in female animals. 5-HT1AR KO affected anxiety in male mice, and fear memory and prepulse inhibition in female mice. 5-HT1AR genotype moderated the effects of maternal prenatal stress exposure on social behavior of male offspring and on activity levels of female offspring. Our findings indicate that 5-HT1A receptor availability can affect outcomes of the offspring resulting from maternal prenatal stress exposure, and that these effects are sex-specific.

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