Limitations to intergenerational inheritance: subchronic paternal stress preconception does not influence offspring anxiety
AuthorFennell, KA; Busby, RGG; Li, S; Bodden, C; Stanger, SJ; Nixon, B; Short, AK; Hannan, AJ; Pang, TY
Source TitleScientific Reports
AffiliationFlorey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsFennell, K. A., Busby, R. G. G., Li, S., Bodden, C., Stanger, S. J., Nixon, B., Short, A. K., Hannan, A. J. & Pang, T. Y. (2020). Limitations to intergenerational inheritance: subchronic paternal stress preconception does not influence offspring anxiety. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 10 (1), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72560-z.
Access StatusOpen Access
Independent studies have observed that a paternal history of stress or trauma is associated with his children having a greater likelihood of developing psychopathologies such as anxiety disorders. This father-to-child effect is reproduced in several mouse models of stress, which have been crucial in developing a greater understanding of intergenerational epigenetic inheritance. We previously reported that treatment of C57Bl/6J male breeders with low-dose corticosterone (CORT) for 28 days prior to mating yielded increased anxiety-related behaviours in their male F1 offspring. The present study aimed to determine whether subchronic 7-day CORT treatment of male mice just prior to mating would be sufficient to induce intergenerational modifications of anxiety-related behaviours in offspring. We report that subchronic CORT treatment of male breeders reduced their week-on-week body weight gain and altered NR3C1 and CRH gene expression in the hypothalamus. There were no effects on sperm count and glucocorticoid receptor protein levels within the epididymal tissue of male breeders. Regarding the F1 offspring, screening for anxiety-related behaviours using the elevated-plus maze, light-dark box, and novelty-suppressed feeding test revealed no differences between the offspring of CORT-treated breeders compared to controls. Thus, it is crucial that future studies take into consideration the duration of exposure when assessing the intergenerational impacts of paternal health.
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