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Perinatal fluoxetine treatment and dams' early life stress history have opposite effects on aggressive behavior while having little impact on sexual behavior of male rat offspring

Houwing, D. J., Esquivel-Franco, D. C., Ramsteijn, A. S., Schuttel, K., Struik, E. L., Arling, C., de Boer, S. F. & Olivier, J. D. A., 17-Jul-2020, In : Psychopharmacology. 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Rationale Many depressed women continue antidepressant treatment during pregnancy. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment during pregnancy increases the risk for abnormal social development of the child, including increased aggressive or defiant behavior, with unknown effects on sexual behavior. Objectives Our aim was to investigate the effects of perinatal SSRI treatment and maternal depression, both separately and combined, on aggressive and sexual behavior in male rat offspring. Methods Heterozygous serotonin transporter (SERT +/- ) knockout dams exposed to early life stress (ELSD) were used as an animal model of maternal depression. Early life stress consisted of separating litters from their mother for 6 h a day on postnatal day (PND)2-15, resulting in a depressive-like phenotype in adulthood. Depressive-like dams were treated with fluoxetine (FLX, 10 mg/kg) or vehicle throughout pregnancy and lactation (gestational day 1 until PND 21). Male offspring were tested for aggressive and sexual behavior in adulthood. As lifelong reductions in SERT expression are known to alter behavioral outcome, offspring with normal (SERT+/+) and reduced (SERT +/- ) SERT expression were assessed. Results Perinatal FLX treatment reduced offensive behavior and the number of animals attacking and increased the latency to attack, especially in SERT(+/+)offspring. Perinatal FLX treatment reduced the mounting frequency in SERT(+/+)offspring. ELSD increased offensive behavior, without affecting sexual behavior in SERT(+/-)offspring. Conclusions Overall, our research demonstrates that perinatal FLX treatment and ELSD have opposite effects on aggressive behavior, with little impact on sexual behavior of male offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalPsychopharmacology
Early online date17-Jul-2020
Publication statusPublished - 17-Jul-2020

    Keywords

  • SSRI, Development, Serotonin transporter, Early life stress, Behavior, Offspring, Depression, REUPTAKE INHIBITOR ANTIDEPRESSANTS, PRENATAL STRESS, MATERNAL STRESS, HYPOTHALAMIC VASOPRESSIN, SOCIAL INTERACTIONS, SEROTONIN, EXPOSURE, PREGNANCY, ALTERS, BRAIN

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