This study aims at investigating the effect of a psychogenic stress during gestation on the behaviour and haematological indices in dams as well as on the neonatal haematological status and periadolescent behaviour in their offspring. Moreover, the ability of quercetin, a natural flavonoid, to prevent the stress-induced changes was estimated. Pregnant Wistar rats were pretreated with quercetin before the exposure to a predator stress on gestational day 19. Post-stress maternal anxiety-like behaviour was assessed with a concomitant haematological analysis. In the offspring, haematological analysis and behavioural testing were performed during the postnatal stage. Our results revealed that predator stress causes an anxiety-like behaviour in dams along with a decrease in erythrocytes, a microcytosis, and a thrombocytosis. Prenatally stressed neonates manifested microcytosis and thrombocytosis with a significant polycythemia. Signs of motor hyperactivity, anxiety-like behaviour, and memory dysfunction were detected at periadolescence. Quercetin pretreatment alleviated the stress-induced behavioural and haematological impairments in dams but failed to attenuate the haematological changes in neonates. A sex-dependent effect of quercetin on behaviour was found at periadolescence. Our findings suggest that, besides a beneficial effect on haematological and behavioural anomalies in traumatized dams, quercetin may lastingly modulate the behaviour of their progeny.
Volume 44 | Issue 5
Click here for Editorial Note on CAP Mode