AbstractThere is growing evidence that advanced maternal age is a risk factor for neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders in offspring. However, it remains unclear whether the altered brain programming induced by advanced maternal age is mediated by pre- or postnatal factors. Here, a mouse model was used to investigate whether pregnancy at advanced age may provoke behavioral and brain gene expression changes in offspring. Swiss Albino mice conceived by 3-month-old males and either 15–18-month-old (n = 11) or 3-month-old control females (n = 5), were delivered by cesarean section, fostered after birth by 3-month-old dams and subjected to a battery of behavioral tests. Furthermore, genome-wide mRNA expression was analyzed in the hippocampi of 4-month-old males offspring using microarrays. Offspring conceived by old mothers exhibited increased ultrasound vocalization activity during separation from the foster mother, increased anxiety-like behaviors in adult life, and altered patterns of hippocampal gene expression, compared to controls. These effects were not reversed by the postnatal maternal care provided by the young foster mothers, suggesting that the altered brain programming is already established at birth, consistent with prenatal effects related to maternal aging.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences – Oxford University Press
Published: Oct 12, 2017
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