Perinatal fluoxetine has enduring sexually differentiated effects on neurobehavioral outcomes related to social behaviors

Abstract : Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) are prescribed to up to 10% of pregnant women to treat maternal mood disorders. Exposure to these medications in-utero has raised concerns about altered neurobehavioral outcomes; most recently those related to peer-to-peer social interactions and play. While clinical data show that both perinatal SSRIs (pSSRI) and maternal stress can contribute to social behavioral changes in children, minimal animal work has investigated the effects of pSSRIs in relevant models of maternal stress or the long-term implications of these effects. Therefore the aim of this work was to investigate the long-term effects of pSSRI exposure to fluoxetine on social behaviors, the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal system (HPA) and hippocampal plasticity in adult male and female rat offspring using a model of pre-gestational maternal stress. Adult Sprague-Dawley female and male rat offspring from the following four groups were utilized 1. Control + Vehicle, 2. Control + Fluoxetine, 3. Pre-gestational Stress + Vehicle, 4. Pre-gestational Stress + Fluoxetine (n = 8-16/female/age groups, n = 8-14/male/age groups). Main findings show pSSRIs increased social investigation in adult females and increased social play (pouncing, nape attacks) in adult males. Perinatal SSRIs also had sexually differentiated effects on hippocampal neurogenesis and GR density. Pre-gestational stress had enduring effects by decreasing social investigation and hippocampal neurogenesis in adult males. Thus pSSRIs, as well as pre-gestational maternal stress, have significant long-term effects on social neurobehavioral outcomes which differ in males and females. This suggests that it would be valuable to consider fetal-sex specific treatments for maternal mental illness.
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Mary Gemmel, Sonsoles de Lacalle, Sophia C Mort, Lesley A Hill, Thierry D Charlier, et al.. Perinatal fluoxetine has enduring sexually differentiated effects on neurobehavioral outcomes related to social behaviors. Neuropharmacology, Elsevier, 2018, 144, pp.70-81. ⟨10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.10.009⟩. ⟨hal-01903260⟩

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