Dose dependent effects of oxytocin on cognitive defects and anxiety disorders in adult rats following acute infantile maternal deprivation stress
Dayi, A.; Kiray, M.; Sisman, A.; Ozbal, S.; Baykara, B.; Aksu, I.; Uysal, N.
Biotechnic and Histochemistry Official Publication of the Biological Stain Commission 94(7): 469-480
Maternal deprivation at an early age is a powerful stressor that causes permanent alterations in cognitive and behavioral functions during the later stages of life. We investigated the effects of oxytocin on cognitive defects and anxiety disorders caused by acute infantile maternal deprivation in adult rats. We used 18-day-old Wistar albino rats of both sexes. The experimental groups included control (C), maternally deprived (MD), maternally deprived and treated with 0.02 μg/kg oxytocin (MD-0.02 µg/kg oxy), maternally deprived and treated with 2 μg/kg oxytocin (MD-2 µg/kg oxy). When the rats were 60 days old, the open field (OF) and elevated plus maze (EPM) behavioral tests, and the Morris water maze (MWM) test for spatial learning and memory were performed. In addition, the number of neurons in the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala were determined using quantitative histology. We also measured vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the PFC. In both sexes, the MD group failed the learning test and the MD-2 μg/kg oxy group failed in the memory test. The MD-0.02 μg/kg oxy group spent more time in the open arm of the EPM device and their locomotor activities were greater in the OF test. The VEGF and BDNF levels in the PFC were higher in the MD-0.02 μg/kg oxy groups than the other maternally deprived groups (oxytocin ±). The number of PFC neurons was low in all male maternally deprived (oxytocin ±) groups, while the number of amygdala neurons was low in both female and male maternally deprived (oxytocin ±) groups. Male rats were more affected by maternal deprivation; administration of oxytocin had dose-dependent biphasic effects on learning, memory and anxiety.