Long-term effects of late gestational maternal hypoxic stress on mood disorders: Sex and age differences




Mabry, Steve
Wilson, Elizabeth
Rybalchenko, Nataliya
Engelland, Rachel
Fadeyibi, Oluwadarasimi
Osikoya, Oluwatobiloba
Cushen, Spencer
Goulopoulou, Styliani
Cunningham, Rebecca


0000-0003-0719-8059 (Mabry, Steve)

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PURPOSE: In utero insults have been linked with increased fear and anxiety in progeny. In utero hypoxic stress is also associated with multiple gestational complications. We hypothesized that exposure to maternal hypoxia during late gestation will have a long-term impact on anxiety in progeny. METHODS: Pregnant female Long-Evans rats were exposed to five days (gestational days: 15-20) of chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) or room air (normoxia: 21% O2) for 8 hours during their sleep phase. Each CIH cycle was 6 min of 3 min hypoxia (10% O2) and 3 min normoxia for a total of 10 CIH cycles/hour. At weaning (PND 28), progeny was pair-housed with a conspecific of same sex and similar weight. To examine anxiety disorders, we quantified anxiety-related behaviors (time spent in center of open field arena, marble burying test, social and anti-social behaviors with conspecifics) along with quantifying food intake and circulating sex hormone levels during puberty (postnatal day, PND 40-45) and young adulthood (PND 60-65) in male and female progeny. RESULTS: Maternal CIH did not impact circulating sex hormones or food intake, regardless of sex or age of progeny. However, maternal CIH increased anxiety related behaviors in pubertal females but were not observed in young adulthood. Maternal CIH did not impact male progeny, regardless of age. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal CIH during gestation resulted in increased anxiety related behaviors in pubertal female progeny. Maternal hypoxia during late gestation may temporarily increase the risk for anxiety disorders in pubertal females.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - 2021 Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Institute for Healthy Aging - 2nd Place