International Journal of Medical Sciences

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19 June 2018

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Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(9):849-858. doi:10.7150/ijms.25281

Research Paper

Chewing during prenatal stress prevents prenatal stress-induced suppression of neurogenesis, anxiety-like behavior and learning deficits in mouse offspring

Kin-ya Kubo1✉, Mika Kotachi2, Ayumi Suzuki2, Mitsuo Iinuma2, Kagaku Azuma3

1. Graduate School of Human Life Science, Nagoya Women's University, 3-40 Shioji-cho, Mizuho-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, 467-8610, Japan
2. Departments of 2 Pediatric Dentistry, Asahi University School of Dentistry, 1851 Hozumi, Mizuho, Gifu, 501-0296, Japan
3. Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, 1-1 Iseigaoka, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyusyu, 807-8555, Japan

Abstract

Prenatal stress (PS) induces learning deficits and anxiety-like behavior in mouse pups by increasing corticosterone levels in the dam. We examined the effects of maternal chewing during PS on arginine vasopressin (AVP) mRNA expression in the dams and on neurogenesis, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression, learning deficits and anxiety-like behavior in the offspring. Mice were divided into control, stress and stress/chewing groups. Pregnant mice were exposed to restraint stress beginning on day 12 of pregnancy and continuing until delivery. Mice in the stress/chewing group were given a wooden stick to chew during restraint stress. PS significantly increased AVP mRNA expression in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus in the dams. PS also impaired learning ability, suppressed neurogenesis and BDNF mRNA expression in the hippocampus, and induced anxiety-like behavior in the offspring. Chewing during PS prevented the PS-induced increase in AVP mRNA expression of the PVN in the dams. Chewing during PS significantly attenuated the PS-induced learning deficits, anxiety-like behavior, and suppression of neurogenesis and BDNF mRNA expression in the hippocampus of the offspring. Chewing during PS prevented the increase in plasma corticosterone in the dam by inhibiting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, and attenuated the attenuated the PS-induced suppression of neurogenesis and BDNF expression in the hippocampus of the pups, thereby ameliorating the PS-induced learning deficits and anxiety-like behavior. Chewing during PS is an effective stress-coping method for the dam to prevent PS-induced deficits in learning ability and anxiety-like behavior in the offspring.

Keywords: Chewing, Prenatal stress, Learning ability, Anxiety-like behavior, Neurogenesis, BDNF

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How to cite this article:
Kubo Ky, Kotachi M, Suzuki A, Iinuma M, Azuma K. Chewing during prenatal stress prevents prenatal stress-induced suppression of neurogenesis, anxiety-like behavior and learning deficits in mouse offspring. Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(9):849-858. doi:10.7150/ijms.25281. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v15p0849.htm