Fetal asphyctic preconditioning protects against perinatal asphyxia-induced behavioral consequences in adulthood

Eveline Strackx, Daniel L. A. Van den Hove, Jos Prickaerts, Luc Zimmermann, Harry W. M. Steinbusch, Carlos E. Blanco, Danilo A. W. Gavilanes*, J. S. Hans Vles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Perinatal asphyxia is one of the major causes of neuronal injury and impaired development in infants. We recently have shown that a brief episode of experimental fetal asphyxia (FA) can provoke an endogenous neuroprotection against subsequent severe perinatal asphyxia (SPA). The long-lasting functional consequences of FA preconditioning are not clear yet. The aim of the study was to determine if FA preconditioning can provide a long-lasting behavioral protection against SPA. FA was induced, as a preconditioning stimulus, by clamping the uterine vasculature for 30 min on E17. At birth, SPA was induced by placing the uterine horns in a water bath for 19 mm. At 6 months of age, functional outcome was assessed using different behavioral tests: the open field for locomotor activity, the elevated zero maze for anxiety-related behavior, the forced swim test for depression-related behavior and the object recognition task for cognition. Data showed that FA preconditioning improved postnatal mortality after SPA. At the age of 6 months, the total distance moved in the open field and elevated zero maze was significantly less in the SPA group compared to the control groups. In addition, cognitive performance in the object recognition task was impaired in the SPA offspring compared to the control groups. Most importantly, FA preconditioning was able to preserve both locomotor activity and cognition function. In conclusion, FA preconditioning induces a long-lasting, functional protection against SPA. Therefore, this model seems to offer good opportunities for the identification and characterization of the underlying mechanisms of preconditioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-351
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2010


  • Preconditioning
  • Fetal asphyxia
  • Perinatal asphyxia
  • Locomotion
  • Anxiety
  • Object memory


Dive into the research topics of 'Fetal asphyctic preconditioning protects against perinatal asphyxia-induced behavioral consequences in adulthood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this