Influence of perinatal stress on the hormone content in immune cells of adult rats: Dominance of ACTH

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Rat dams were stressed by total deprivation of food and water for 48h just before or directly after delivery and the offspring were studied when adult. The immune cells hormone content (ACTH, histamine, serotonin, and T3) was measured by immunocytochemical flow cytometry. The elevation of ACTH content in males was convincing in each cell type (lymphocytes, monocytes and granulocytes, and mast cells). The change in histamine and T3 content was inconsistent, while serotonin level did not change at all. As ACTH is the key hormone in the General Adaptation Syndrome, it seems likely that the perinatal stress primarily caused elevation in ACTH level and it was provoking the life-long hormonal imprinting. There was a difference between the reaction of males and females (with males advance), which points to the gender dependence of the phenomenon. It is important that the effect of stress on the offspring was similar in case of direct (prenatal, in the mother) and indirect (postnatal, transmitted by milk) stress treatment, which calls attention to the danger of stress during this latter period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-620
Number of pages4
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2009



  • ACTH
  • Hormonal imprinting
  • Hormones
  • Immunity
  • Postnatal stress
  • Prenatal stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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