Author(s): Weaver IC, Grant RJ, Meaney MJ
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Abstract Naturally occurring variations in maternal care influence hippocampal development in the rat. In the present study we found that variations in maternal licking/grooming (LG) during the first week of life are associated with altered hippocampal expression of BAX (group-1 tumor necrosis factor family mediated cell death effector) in 90-day-old male offspring. BAX-like immunoreactivity on western blots is significantly increased in the adult offspring of low-level LG mothers. There is no effect of maternal care on levels of either B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) (group-II mitochondria mediated cell death suppressor) or BAD (group-III endoplasmic reticulum mediated cell death effector). The most striking biochemical event in apoptosis is DNA fragmentation. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transerferase (Tdt)-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling (TUNEL) and 4',6'-diamidino-2-phenylindole hydrochloride (DAPI) staining showed that the number of TUNEL-positive cells in both the dentate gyrus and CA1 region of the hippocampus is significantly increased in the adult offspring of low-level LG mothers. In conclusion, we propose that hippocampal neurons in the offspring of low-level LG mothers may be more vulnerable to loss through apoptosis.
This article was published in J Neurochem
and referenced in Cell & Developmental Biology