Physiological and Behavioral Imprints of Parental Olfactory Experience Open Access

Doshi, Nandini (2017)

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Epidemiological studies suggest that severe stress or trauma has the ability to influence the development of neuropsychiatric disorders in the descendants of those directly exposed to the adverse event. Studies using animals corroborate these findings and allow us to study these influences. Previous laboratory investigations have confirmed that paternal exposure to stressful stimuli is associated with altered stress-regulation in subsequent generations. Missing from this discussion is how and why this phenomenon occurs. Olfaction provides a behavioral and structural framework that allows us to follow how a stressor perceived by one generation can leave imprints on the behavior, physiology, and neurobiology of future generations. Previous research has shown that exposing F0 mice to olfactory fear conditioning (odor + mild foot-shock) results in an increased sensitivity and an enhanced neuroanatomy for that odor in male F1 offspring. However, it remains unknown how that F1 generation behaves and physiologically responds when they encounter that paternally conditioned odor. In the present study, we examined behavioral and physiological responsiveness of F1 animals when they encounter the paternally salient odor. We subjected male mice to olfactory fear conditioning, odor presentations alone, or allowed them to remain in their home cages and then tested the behavior of their offspring in response to a presentation of the F0 conditioned odor (Acetophenone, Ace). Additionally, we measured corticosterone levels of the F1 generations in response to an Ace presentation. Male, but not female, F1 offspring of Ace-conditioned animals exhibited significantly greater freezing and a blunted corticosterone response to an exposure of Ace relative to the F1 offspring of Ace-exposed animals. Moreover, the offspring of olfactory conditioned males were also subjected to a weak conditioning paradigm to the paternally salient odor and showed a decreased threshold for learning to the F0-conditioned odor but no difference in stress regulation after a presentation of that odor one day after the weak-conditioning paradigm. These results suggest that parental experiences may leave imprints in their offspring via corticosterone action to bias their behavior.

Table of Contents

I.Introduction 1

II.Material and Methods 7

III.Results 11

IV.Discussion 14

V.References 20

VI.Figures 27

a. Figure 1 27

b. Figure 2 28

c. Figure 3 29

d. Figure 4 30

e. Figure 5 31

f. Figure 6 32

g. Figure 7 33

h. Figure 8 34

i. Figure 9 35

j. Figure 10 36

k. Figure 11 37

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