Long-term effects of prenatal chronic intermittent hypoxia insult on the substantia nigra




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


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Purpose: Prenatal chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) was employed to evaluate the effects of hypoxic insults on the substantia nigra (SN), which is impacted by Parkinson's disease (PD). SN loss during PD is linked with oxidative stress (OS) and apoptosis. We hypothesized that exposure to late gestational maternal hypoxia would result in an increase in increased OS, but not apoptosis, in the SN of adult male and female progeny. Methods: During gestational days 15-20, pregnant Long-Evans rats were exposed to CIH or room air (normoxia) for 8 hours. CIH consisted of 3 min hypoxia (10% O2) and 3 min normoxia (21% O2). Animals were sacrificed at puberty (PND 44) or adulthood (PND 66). SN micropunches were obtained. OS was quantified by measuring calpain cleavage of spectrin. Results: OS (calpain cleavage of spectrin) was increased in the SN of adult male and female rats exposed to prenatal CIH compared to control (F1,17 = 3.606; p = 0.075). No effects on OS were observed in pubertal rats. Apoptosis (caspase-3 cleavage of spectrin) was not observed in any of the groups. Conclusions: These data suggest that prenatal CIH programming has a long-lasting impact on the SN of adult progeny, which may increase the susceptibility of SN to damage and PD risk. Although no sex differences were observed in this pilot study, we may see a sex effect upon increasing animal number, especially in male rats. This is consistent with the higher incidence of PD in men than in women.