Paternal line multigenerational passage of altered risk assessment behavior in female but not male rat offspring of mothers fed a low protein diet

L. A. Reyes-Castro, G. L. Rodríguez-González, R. Chavira, C. Ibáñez, C. Lomas-Soria, J. S. Rodriguez, P. W. Nathanielsz, E. Zambrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Maternal low protein (MLP) diets in pregnancy and lactation impair offspring brain development and modify offspring behavior. We hypothesized multigenerational passage of altered behavioral outcomes as has been demonstrated following other developmental programming challenges. We investigated potential multigenerational effects of MLP in rat pregnancy and/or lactation on offspring risk assessment behavior. Founder generation mothers (F0) ate 20% casein (C) or restricted (R) 10% casein diet, providing four groups: CC, RR, CR, and RC (first letter pregnancy, second letter lactation diet) to evaluate offspring (F1) effects influenced by MLP in F0. On postnatal day (PND 250), F1 males were mated to non-colony siblings producing F2. On PND 90, F2 females (in diestrous) and F2 males were tested in the elevated plus maze (EPM) and open field. Corticosterone was measured at PND 110. Female but not male CR and RC F2 made more entries and spent more time in EPM open arms than CC females. Overall activity was unchanged as observed in male F1 fathers. There were no open field differences in F2 of either sex, indicating that multigenerational MLP effects are due to altered risk assessment, not locomotion. MLP in pregnancy reduced F1 male and F2 female corticosterone. We conclude that MLP in pregnancy and/or lactation increases the innate tendency to explore novel environments in F2 females via the paternal linage, suggesting lower levels of caution and/or higher impulsiveness to explore unknown spaces. Further studies will be necessary to identify the epigenetic modifications in the germ line through the paternal linage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume140
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Developmental programming
  • Multigenerational
  • Paternal lineage
  • Protein restriction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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