Prenatal stress induces long-lasting effects in lung glucocorticoid receptor gene expression in a sex-dependent manner

Carolina Luft, Natália Evangelista Campos, Mauro Henrique Moraes Vargas, Márcio Vinícius Fagundes Donadio


AIM: Stressful events during pregnancy may influence respiratory system development, resulting in long-term effects in the offspring. However, little is known on its long-lasting effects upon the expression of important genes in the lungs. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the effect of two different prenatal stress paradigms on lung glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression in adulthood.
METHODS: Pregnant BALB/c mice were divided into 3 groups: control (CON), prenatal stress from the second week of pregnancy (PNS1) and prenatal stress on the last week of pregnancy (PNS2). In both groups (PNS1 and PNS2), restraint stress was used. When adults, male and female offspring were submitted to 30 min of restraint stress. Lung gene expression of GR was evaluated.
RESULTS: There was a significant increase in GR expression in males (PNS1), under basal conditions. Restraint stress during adulthood significantly reduced GR expression in PNS1 and PNS2 males as compared to controls. No significant differences were found for females.
CONCLUSION: Results indicate that prenatal stress from the second week of gestation modulates adult male mice GR expression in the lungs. Thus, fetal exposure to maternal stress from the second week of gestation seems to modulate mechanisms responsible for pulmonary development in a sex-dependent manner.


Prenatal stress; Lung; Glucocorticoid receptor.

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