JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In

Summary

Abstract

Introduction

Protocol

Representative Results

Discussion

Acknowledgements

Materials

References

Behavior

Using a Murine Model of Psychosocial Stress in Pregnancy as a Translationally Relevant Paradigm for Psychiatric Disorders in Mothers and Infants

Published: June 13th, 2021

DOI:

10.3791/62464

1Molecular Developmental Biology Program, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 2Division of Human Genetics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 4Division of Veterinary Services, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

The chronic psychosocial stress (CGS) paradigm employs clinically relevant stressors during pregnancy in mice to model psychiatric disorders of mothers and infants. Here, we provide a step-by-step procedure of applying the CGS paradigm and downstream assessments to validate this model.

The peripartum period is considered a sensitive period where adverse maternal exposures can result in long-term negative consequences for both mother and offspring, including the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. Risk factors linked to the emergence of affective dysregulation in the maternal-infant dyad have been extensively studied. Exposure to psychosocial stress during pregnancy has consistently emerged as one of the strongest predictors. Several rodent models have been created to explore this association; however, these models rely on the use of physical stressors or a limited number of psychosocial stressors presented in a repetitive fashion, which do not accurately capture the type, intensity, and frequency of stressors experienced by women. To overcome these limitations, a chronic psychosocial stress (CGS) paradigm was generated that employs various psychosocial insults of different intensity presented in an unpredictable fashion. The manuscript describes this novel CGS paradigm where pregnant female mice, from gestational day 6.5 to 17.5, are exposed to various stressors during the day and overnight. Day stressors, two per day separated by a 2 h break, range from exposure to foreign objects or predator odor to frequent changes in bedding, removal of bedding, and cage tilting. Overnight stressors include continuous light exposure, changing cage mates, or wetting bedding. We have previously shown that exposure to CGS results in the development of maternal neuroendocrine and behavioral abnormalities, including increased stress reactivity, the emergence of fragmented maternal care patterns, anhedonia, and anxiety-related behaviors, core features of women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. This CGS model, therefore, becomes a unique tool that can be used to elucidate molecular defects underlying maternal affective dysregulation, as well as trans-placental mechanisms that impact fetal neurodevelopment and result in negative long-term behavioral consequences in the offspring.

The mechanisms underlying increased susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disorders in mothers and infants following adverse maternal exposures in the peripartum period remain largely unknown. Substantial maternal physiological alterations occur during pregnancy and the transition to the postpartum period, including several neuroendocrine adaptations that are hypothesized to be critical not only for healthy offspring neurodevelopment but also for preserving maternal mental health1,2. At the level of the maternal hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, adaptions in both circadian and stress-induced levels of gl....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

All animal experiments described were approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center and were in accordance with the National Institutes of Health guidelines. Ad libitum access to standard rodent chow and water was provided at all times to mice, including during the CGS paradigm. Mice were housed on a 14 h/10 h light-dark cycle (lights on 06:00 h) unless otherwise specified (i.e., exposure to lights overnight).

1. Preparing for timed matings

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Exposing the pregnant female mice to CGS results in changes in chronic stress-relevant parameters, including a reduction in body weight gain during pregnancy (Figure 2A) and increased adrenal gland weights in the early postpartum period (Figure 2B)19. Importantly, exposure to CGS results in postpartum abnormalities in maternal neuroendocrine function. CGS dams exhibit a hyperactive HPA axis as evidenced by the increased serum corticostero.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Exposing the pregnant mice to CGS perturbs postpartum maternal neuroendocrine function, including HPA axis response to novel stressors, and is associated with various behavioral abnormalities relevant to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Given that the model employs utilization of an environmental risk factor, higher phenotypic variation is expected than otherwise observed in genetic models22. Nevertheless, results obtained from application of the CGS paradigm can be consistent across research.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The authors wish to acknowledge support from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences T32 GM063483-14 grant and Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation. For data adapted from Zoubovsky et al., 2019, Creative Common License can be found at the following location: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Animal lancet Braintree Scientific Inc. GR4MM
Blunt end probe Fine Science Tools 10088-15 Used to check for copulatory plugs
Bottles for SPT Braintree Scientific Inc. WTRBTL S-BL 100 mL glass water bottle with stopper and sipper ball point tube, graduted by 1 mL.
Conical tubes (50 mL) Corning Inc. 352098 Used for restraining mice to measure HPA axis response to acute stress. Make sure conical tube has small opening at the end for ventilation.
Legos Amazon -
Marbles Amazon -
Mouse Corticosterone ELISA kit Biovendor RTC002R
Mouse EZM TSE Systems -
Reciprocal laboratory shaker Labnet international S2030-RC-B
Serum separator tubes Becton Dickinson 365967
Static cage- bottom Alternative Design Manufacturing and Supply Inc. RC71D-PC
Static cage - filtered ventilated tops Alternative Design Manufacturing and Supply Inc. FT71H-PC

  1. Hillerer, K. M., Reber, S. O., Neumann, I. D., Slaterry, D. A. Exposure to chronic pregnancy stress reverses peripartum-associated adaptations: implications for postpartum anxiety and mood disorders. Endocrinology. 152 (10), 3930-3940 (2011).
  2. Hillerer, K. M., Neumann, I. D., Slaterry, D. A. From stress to postpartum mood and anxiety disorders: how chronic peripartum stress can impair maternal adaptations. Neuroendocrinology. 95 (1), 22-38 (2018).
  3. Altemus, M., Deuster, P. A., Galliven, E., Carter, C. S., Gold, P. W. Suppression of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to stress in lactating women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 80 (10), 2954-2959 (1995).
  4. Slattery, D. A., Neumann, I. D. No stress please! Mechanisms of stress hyporesponsiveness of the maternal brain. The Journal of Physiology. 586 (2), 377-385 (2008).
  5. Hasiec, M., Misztal, T. Adaptive modifications of maternal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity during lactation and salsolinol as a new player in this phenomenon. International Journal of Endocrinology. 10 (2), 1-11 (2018).
  6. Bloch, M., et al. Cortisol response to ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone in a model of pregnancy and parturition in euthymic women with and without a history of postpartum depression. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 90 (2), 695-699 (2005).
  7. Jolley, S. N., Elmore, S., Barnard, K. E., Carr, D. B. Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in postpartum depression. Biological Research for Nursing. 8 (3), 210-222 (2007).
  8. Nierop, A., Bratsikas, A., Zimmermann, R., Ehlert, U. Are stress-induced cortisol changes during pregnancy associated with postpartum depressive symptoms. Psychosomatic Medicine. 68 (6), 931-937 (2006).
  9. Ulrich-Lai, Y. M., Herman, J. P. Neural regulation of endocrine and autonomic stress responses. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 10 (6), 397-409 (2009).
  10. Smith, J. W., Seckl, J. R., Evans, A. T., Costall, B., Smythe, J. W. Gestational stress induces post-partum depression-like behavior and alters maternal care in rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 29 (2), 227-244 (2004).
  11. Leuner, B., Fredericks, P. J., Nealer, C., Albin-Brooks, C. Chronic gestational stress leads to depressive-like behavior and compromises medial prefrontal cortex structure and function during the postpartum period. PLOS One. 9 (3), 89912 (2014).
  12. Kurata, A., Morinobu, S., Fuchikami, M., Yamamoto, S., Yamawaki, S. Maternal postpartum learned helplessness (LH) affects maternal care by dams and responses to the LH test in adolescent offspring. Hormones and Behavior. 56 (1), 112-120 (2009).
  13. Boccia, M. L., Pedersen, C. A. Brief vs. long maternal separations in infancy: Contrasting relationships with adult maternal behavior and lactation levels of aggression and anxiety. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 26 (7), 657-672 (2001).
  14. Boccia, M. L., et al. Repeated long separations from pups produce depression-like behavior in rat mothers. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 32 (1), 65-71 (2007).
  15. Nephew, B. C., Bridges, R. S. Effects of chronic social stress during lactation on maternal behavior and growth in rats. Stress. 14 (6), 677-684 (2011).
  16. Carini, L. M., Murgatroyd, C. A., Nephew, B. C. Using chronic social stress to model postpartum depression in lactating rodents. Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE. (76), e50324 (2013).
  17. Pardon, M., Gérardin, P., Joubert, C., Pérez-Diaz, F., Cohen-Salmon, C. Influence of prepartum chronic ultramild stress on maternal pup care behavior in mice. Biological Psychiatry. 47 (10), 858-863 (2000).
  18. Misdrahi, D., Pardon, M. C., Pérez-Diaz, F., Hanoun, N., Cohen-Salmon, C. Prepartum chronic ultramild stress increases corticosterone and estradiol levels in gestating mice: Implications for postpartum depressive disorders. Psychiatry Research. 137 (12), 123-130 (2005).
  19. Zoubovsky, S. P., et al. Chronic psychosocial stress during pregnancy affects maternal behavior and neuroendocrine function and modulates hypothalamic CRH and nuclear steroid receptor expression. Translational Psychiatry. 10 (6), 1-13 (2020).
  20. Yim, I. S., et al. Biological and psychosocial predictors of postpartum depression: systematic review and call for integration. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 11, 99-137 (2015).
  21. Slomian, J., Honvo, G., Emonts, P., Reginster, J. Y., Bruyere, O. Consequences of maternal postpartum depression: a systematic review of maternal and infant outcomes. Women's Health. 15, 1-55 (2019).
  22. Chow, K. H., Yan, Z., Wu, W. L. Induction of maternal immune activation in mice at mid-gestation stage with viral mimic poly(I:C). Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE. (109), e53643 (2016).
  23. Zalaquett, C., Thiessen, D. The effects of odors from stressed mice on conspecific behavior. Physiology and Behavior. 50 (1), 221-227 (1991).
  24. Burstein, O., Doron, R. The unpredictable chronic mild stress protocol for inducing anhedonia in mice. Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE. (140), e58184 (2018).
  25. Zheng, H. T., et al. The detrimental effects of stress-induced glucocorticoid exposure on mouse uterine receptivity and decidualization. FASEB Journal: Official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 34 (11), 14200-14216 (2020).
  26. Mueller, B. R., Bale, T. L. Sex-specific programming of offspring emotionality after stress early in pregnancy. Journal of Neuroscience. 28 (36), 9055-9065 (2008).
  27. Bale, T. L. The placenta and neurodevelopment: sex differences in prenatal vulnerability. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 18 (4), 459-464 (2016).
  28. Herman, J. P., Tasker, J. G. Paraventricular hypothalamic mechanisms of chronic stress adaptation. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 7, 137-147 (2016).
  29. Byers, S. L., Wiles, M. V., Dunn, S. L., Taft, R. A. Mouse estrous cycle identification tool and images. PLOS One. 7 (4), 35538 (2012).
  30. Pallares, P., Gonzalez-Bulnes, A. Use of ultrasound imaging for early diagnosis of pregnancy and determination of litter size in the mouse. Laboratory Animals. 43 (1), 91-95 (2009).
  31. Froberg-Fejko, K., Lecker, J. Using environmental enrichment and nutritional supplementation to improve breeding success in rodents. Lab Animal (NY). 45 (1), 406-407 (2016).
  32. Perani, C. V., Neumann, I. D., Reber, S. O., Slattery, D. A. High-fat diet prevents adaptive peripartum-associated adrenal gland plasticity and anxiolysis. Scientific Reports. 5, 14821-14831 (2015).
  33. Nugent, B. M., Bale, T. L. The omniscient placenta: metabolic and epigenetic regulation of fetal programming. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. 39, 28-37 (2015).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo

Privacy

Terms of Use

Policies

Research

Education

ABOUT JoVE

Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved