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Environmental enrichment preventing ethanol-induced impairments to maternal and offspring behaviour

Grant number: 21/04816-1
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2021 - October 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Neuropsychopharmacology
Principal researcher:Rosana Camarini
Grantee:Rosana Camarini
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Jose Donato Junior ; Vincent Vialou

Abstract

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a serious public health problem, given that the drug cross the placental barrier and affect embryo-fetal development. In addition to the direct effects of exposure to alcohol on the fetus, consumption during pregnancy can also interfere with the care that the mother expresses with the offspring, as the drug seems to interrupt the interaction between them, probably by reducing the maternal release of oxytocin (OT ). Environmental enrichment (EE) during pregnancy, on the other hand, can increase behaviors aimed at puppies, since it has been shown to be able to modulate the oxytocinergic system, according to a study by our laboratory. Unraveling the mechanisms by which EE modulates the OT system can help in developing methods or strategies for preventing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the effects of exposure to EE during pregnancy, on alcohol-induced deficits in maternal behavior and in the development of offspring, as well as the mechanisms induced by EE in the OT system. For this, female Swiss mice will be divided into four groups: housed in a standard cage and treated with water or ethanol (3 g / kg, gavage); housed in EE and treated with water or ethanol. Treatment with ethanol will be carried out from GD15 to PND10. Maternal behaviour, the physical and reflexological development of the offspring, behaviors related to anxiety, aggression, social interaction and ethanol consumption of animals in adulthood will be evaluated. We will study the role of the oxytocinergic system in the mechanisms of EE through the measurement of OT concentrations and OT mRNA levels. We will investigate how OT neurons in the hypothalamus of the offspring will respond to reward stimuli. We will proceed with the analysis of the modulation of the OT system on the dopaminergic system in animals exposed to EE. As a complementary analysis, the secreto-me of offspring astrocytes will be evaluated, as markers of astrocyte-mediated extracellular signaling and brain homeostasis. (AU)

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