With the growing use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) for the treatment of depression during the perinatal period, questions have been raised about the longterm impact of these medications on development. We aimed to investigate how developmental SSRI exposure may alter affect-related behaviors and associated molecular processes in offspring using a rodent model of maternal stress and depression. For this purpose, prenatally stressed or non-stressed male offspring were exposed to fluoxetine (5mg/kg/day) or vehicle, via lactation, until weaning. Primary results show that postnatal fluoxetine exposure differentially altered anxiety-like behavior by increasing anxiety in non-stressed offspring and decreasing anxiety in prenatally stressed offspring. In the hippocampus, developmental fluoxetine exposure decreased BDNF IV and TrkB mRNA expression. Prenatal stress alone also decreased escape behaviors and decreased hippocampal BDNF IV mRNA expression. These data provide important evidence for the long-term programming effects of early-life exposure to SSRIs on brain and behavior.
- prenatal stress
- sex differences