Recent studies have demonstrated that behavioral traits are subject to transgenerational modification by paternal environmental factors. We previously reported on the transgenerational influences of increased paternal stress hormone levels on offspring anxiety and depression-related behaviors. Here, we investigated whether offspring sociability and cognition are also influenced by paternal stress. Adult C57BL/6J male mice were treated with corticosterone (CORT; 25 mg/L) for four weeks prior to paired-matings to generate F1 offspring. Paternal CORT treatment was associated with decreased body weights of female offspring and a marked reduction of the male offspring. There were no differences in social behavior of adult F1 offspring in the three-chamber social interaction test. Despite male offspring of CORT-treated fathers displaying hyperactivity in the Y-maze, there was no observable difference in short-term spatial working memory. Spatial learning and memory testing in the Morris water maze revealed that female, but not male, F1 offspring of CORT-treated fathers had impaired memory retention. We used our recently developed methodology to analyze the spatial search strategy of the mice during the learning trials and determined that the impairment could not be attributed to underlying differences in search strategy. These results provide evidence for the impact of paternal corticosterone administration on offspring cognition and complement the cumulative knowledge of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of acquired traits in rodents and humans.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2017|
- stress response
- HPA axis
- epigenetic inheritance