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ISSN 2052-1472 (online)

Reproduction Abstracts (2014) 1 P154 | DOI: 10.1530/repabs.1.P154

Chronic sympathetic stress during gestation delays puberty and follicular development of female offspring

Rafael Barra1, Gonzalo Cruz1,2, Artur Mayerhofer3, Alfonso Paredes1 & Hernan E Lara1


1Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Santiago, Chile; 2Facultad de Ciencias, Valparaíso, Chile; 3University of Munich, Munich, Federal Republic of Germany.


It is widely accepted in the literature that the exposure to stress during early stages of development could have permanent and severe effect in the developing organism. We studied the effect of maternal sympathetic stress to pregnant rats, and studied the permanent effects in follicular development of the ovary of the progeny.

Methods: Pregnant Sprague – Dawley rats were cold stressed (4 °C 3 h/day) during all pregnancy. Control group was maintained at room temperature. The female offspring was randomly distributed in the prepuberal (30 days old) and adult’s rat groups. Ovaries were used to morphometric analysis, real-time PCR, incubation assay, noradrenaline concentration, and EIA for determining plasma levels of ovarian steroids.

Results: Prenatal stress decreased the number of primordial, primary, and secondary follicles at neonatal stage (4 days old) and affected the early follicular development. These early changes translated into a decreased prepubertal antral follicular development and delayed puberty. The fact that ovarian NE was decreased could mean that the increased maternal NE plasma levels during gestation might induce a compensatory response in the progeny by decreasing the development of sympathetic nerves of the ovary. After an erratic beginning in estrous cycle activity, the rats were regulated but increased atretic follicles and decreased the number of corpus luteum most probably related by an early decrease in follicular population and hence an early reproductive senescence.

Supported by: Fondecyt 1130049, DFG10-PIA-Conicyt, DFG grants MA1080/17-3 and 19-1.

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