Format of Original
Journal of Neuroendocrinology
Original Item ID
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2007.01595.x; PubMed Central: PMCID 2030994
Stressful events before or just after parturition alter the subsequent phenotypical response to stress in a general process termed programming. Hypoxia during the period before and during parturition, and in the postnatal period, is one of the most common causes of perinatal distress, morbidity, and mortality. We have found that perinatal hypoxia (prenatal day 19 to postnatal day 14) augmented the corticosterone response to stress and increased basal corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) mRNA levels in the parvocellular portion of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) in 6-month-old rats. There was no effect on the levels of hypothalamic parvocellular PVN vasopressin mRNA, anterior pituitary pro-opiomelanocortin or CRH receptor-1 mRNA, or hippocampus glucocorticoid receptor mRNA. We conclude that hypoxia spanning the period just before and for several weeks after parturition programmes the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to hyper-respond to acute stress in adulthood, probably as a result of drive from the parvocellular CRH neurones.