Long-term effects of short and long periods of maternal separation on brain opioid peptide levels in male Wistar rats
2003 (English)In: Neuropeptides, ISSN 0143-4179, E-ISSN 1532-2785, Vol. 37, no 3, 149-156 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Environmental manipulations early in life may induce persistent alterations in adult behaviour and physiology. The underlying neural mechanisms of these responses are not yet clear. We have previously reported long-term changes in brain opioid peptide levels in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats after short periods (15 min, known as neonatal handling) of maternal separation (MS) until weaning. To study this further, we investigated behavioural and neurochemical effects of repeated MS in male Wistar rats. The rat pups were separated from their dams in litters for either 360 min (MS360) or 15 min (MS15) daily from postnatal day 1 to 21 or exposed to normal animal facility rearing. Behavioural analysis showed that MS360 rats had increased ultrasonic calls on postnatal day 5 compared to MS15 rats, but not on postnatal day 6. Moreover, the MS360 rats had more animals with higher frequency of calls at day 5 than 6 than the MS15 rats. Analysis of the opioid peptides dynorphin B and Met-enkephalin-Arg(6)Phe(7) with radioimmunoassay 7 weeks after the MS procedure, revealed long-term neurochemical changes in several brain areas and in the pituitary gland. Immunoreactive dynorphin B and Met-enkephalin-Arg(6)Phe(7) levels were affected in the hypothalamus and dynorphin B levels in the neurointermediate pituitary lobe, amygdala, substantia nigra and the periaqueductal gray. Together, these findings show that repeated periods of MS early in life in male Wistar rats affect the development of the ultrasonic call response and induce long-lasting and possibly permanent alterations in the opioid peptide systems.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 37, no 3, 149-156 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-64794DOI: 10.1016/S0143-4179(03)00043-XISI: 000184376500003PubMedID: 12860112OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-64794DiVA: diva2:92705