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Early Life Stress Increases Metabolic Risk, HPA Axis Reactivity, and Depressive-Like Behavior When Combined with Postweaning Social Isolation in Rats.

ABSTRACT: Early-life stress is associated with depression and metabolic abnormalities that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Such associations could be due to increased glucocorticoid levels. Periodic maternal separation in the neonate and rearing in social isolation are potent stressors that increase hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. Moreover, social isolation promotes feed intake and body weight gain in rats subjected to periodic maternal separation; however, its effects on metabolic risks have not been described. In the present study, we evaluated whether periodic maternal separation, social isolation rearing, and a combination of these two stressors (periodic maternal separation + social isolation rearing) impair glucose homeostasis and its relation to the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and depressive-like behavior. Periodic maternal separation increased basal corticosterone levels, induced a passive coping strategy in the forced swimming test, and was associated with a mild (24%) increase in fasting glucose, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. Rearing in social isolation increased stress reactivity in comparison to both controls and in combination with periodic maternal separation, without affecting the coping strategy associated with the forced swimming test. However, social isolation also increased body weight gain, fasting glucose (120%), and insulin levels in rats subjected to periodic maternal separation. Correlation analyses showed that stress-induced effects on coping strategy on the forced swimming test (but not on metabolic risk markers) are associated with basal corticosterone levels. These findings suggest that maternal separation and postweaning social isolation affect stress and metabolic vulnerability differentially and that early-life stress-related effects on metabolism are not directly dependent on glucocorticoid levels. In conclusion, our study supports the cumulative stress hypothesis, which suggests that metabolic risk markers arise when vulnerable individuals are exposed to social challenges later in life.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC5017766 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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