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Stress During Pregnancy Alters Rat Offspring Morphology and Ultrasonic Vocalizations
Physiology & Behavior
  • Michael T. Williams
  • Michael B. Hennessy, Wright State University - Main Campus
  • Harry N. Davis
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Stress during pregnancy, or prenatal stress, is known to alter offspring behavior, morphology and physiology. We found that a heat, light and restraint stressor applied during the third trimester of pregnancy: 1) decreased the weight gain of adult female rats during pregnancy; 2) reduced the weight of pups, as well as the anogenital distance of male offspring, at birth; and 3) increased the number of ultrasonic vocalizations emitted by pups during isolation in a novel environment on Postnatal Day 14. These results closely approximate those we previously observed after peripheral administration of corticotropin-releasing factor to pregnant females during the third trimester. Together, the studies strongly suggest a role for corticotropin-releasing factor and/or other hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system in mediating some of the effects of gestational stress.
Citation Information
Michael T. Williams, Michael B. Hennessy and Harry N. Davis. "Stress During Pregnancy Alters Rat Offspring Morphology and Ultrasonic Vocalizations" Physiology & Behavior Vol. 63 Iss. 3 (1998) p. 337 - 343 ISSN: 0031-9384
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