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Int J Dev Neurosci. 2001 Feb;19(1):37-45.

Prenatal stress and postnatal development of neonatal rats--sex-dependent effects on emotional behavior and learning ability of neonatal rats.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fukuyama University, Fukuyama, 729-0292, Hiroshima, Japan.


Maternal sound stress (800 Hz; 77 dB, every other minute for 15 min/day, from day 10 to 18 of gestation), combined with forced swimming stress (15 min/day), was found to cause potentiation of sound-induced loss of locomotor activity, referred to as emotional behavior, of male offspring, but not that of female offspring, at 4 weeks of age. Maternal stress also caused an increase in the total number of errors by male, but not female offspring in the water-maze test at 6 weeks of age. These effects of stress on emotional behavior and learning behavior were abolished when dams were pretreated with buspirone (30 min before the stress, from day 8 to 18 of gestation). Thus, prenatal stress might have sex-dependent effects on emotional behavior and learning ability of neonatal rats.

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