Transgenerational effects of early experience on acute stress reactions in behaviour, steroid hormones and gene expression in the precocial chicken
2012 (English)In: Hormones and Behavior, ISSN 0018-506X, E-ISSN 1095-6867, Vol. 61, no 5, 711-718 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Stress during early life can profoundly influence an individual’s phenotype. Effects can manifest in the short-term as well as later in life and even in subsequent generations. Transgenerational effects of stress are potentially mediated via modulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) as well as epigenetic mechanisms causing heritable changes in gene expression. To investigate these pathways we subjected domestic chicks (Gallus gallus) to intermittent social isolation, food restriction, and temperature stress for the first three weeks of life. The early life stress resulted in a dampened corticosterone response to restraint stress in the parents and male offspring. Stress-specific genes, such as early growth response 1 (EGR1) and corticotropin releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1), were upregulated when chicks were tested in the context of restraint stress, but not under baseline conditions. Treatment differences in gene expression were also correlated across generations which indicate transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, possibly mediated by differences in maternal yolk estradiol and testosterone. In an associative learning test early stressed birds made more correct choices suggesting a higher coping ability in stressful situations. This study is the first to show transgenerational effects of early life stress in a precocial species by combining behavioural, endocrinological, and transcriptomic measurements.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 61, no 5, 711-718 p.
Early growth response, corticotropin releasing hormone receptor, postnatal stress, behaviour, epigenetics, transgenerational effects, steroid hormones, gene expression
National CategoryBiological Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-70157DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.03.006ISI: 000304339800007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-70157DiVA: diva2:436071
funding agencies|Swedish Research Council||Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning||2011-08-222011-08-222015-04-20