Environmental factors such as prenatal stress in animals can induce alterations in the development of nervous system and consequently increase seizures susceptibility and the development of epilepsy of offspring in the early and later stages of life. Further, the developing brain in the postnatal period presents increased susceptibility to seizures, depending on brain development phase. Recent experimental studies have shown that exercise during fetal development can improve some brain functions of the pups after birth. On the other hand, studies in rodents have reported that prenatal stress decreases hippocampal volume and postnatal neurogenesis. Reduction in the number of granule cells in the dentate gyrus has been observed at different postnatal periods including the adult life. These detrimental effects are not well characterized in animals submitted to brain insult early in life. This finding is important since approximately 85% of these cells are usually formed postnatally in rodents. Despite the beneficial effects of regular exercise in the developing brain during pregnancy, it is unclear whether physical exercise in stressed pregnant rats may have a neuroprotective effect after brain insult in the offspring early in life. Therefore, in this project, we aim to 1- verify whether exercise during pregnancy can alter seizures susceptibility in offspring induced in the early and later stages of life using the pentylenetetrazol model and 2- verify how physical exercise and/or stress interfere in the hippocampal plasticity of offspring. This research can provide important information to elucidate the impact of regular physical exercise on seizure susceptibility in the offspring of mother who experience stress during pregnancy.
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