Objective: Exposing a pregnant female to stress during the critical period of embryonic fetal brain development increases the risk of psychiatric disorders in the offspring. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of antidepressant tianeptine on prenatally stressed (PNS) rats.
Methods: In this study, a repeated variable stress paradigm was applied to pregnant rats during the last week of gestation. To investigate the effects of antidepressant tianeptine on PNS rats, behavioral and protein expression analyses were performed. Forced swim test, open field test, and social interaction test were performed to determine changes in PNS rats compared to non-stressed offspring. Haloperidol was used as a positive control as an antipsychotic drug based on previous studies.
Results: Behavioral changes were restored after treatment with tianeptine or haloperidol. Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses of the prefrontal cortex revealed downregulation of several neurodevelopmental proteins in PNS rats. After treatment with tianeptine or haloperidol, their expression levels were increased.
Conclusion: Downregulation of several proteins in PNS rats might have caused subsequent behavioral changes in PNS rats. After tianeptine or haloperidol treatment, behavioral changes in PNS rats were restored. Therefore, tianeptine might decrease incidence of prenatal stress related-psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
Keywords: Behavior test; Haloperidol; Laboratory animal model; Prenatal stress; Psychiatric disorder; Tianeptine.
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