In vivo microdialysis shows differential effects of prenatal protein malnutrition and stress on norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin levels in rat orbital frontal cortex.

Academic Article


  • Prenatal protein malnutrition (PPM) alters the developing brain including changes in monoaminergic systems and attention. In the present study, we used in vivo microdialysis to examine the relationship between PPM, acute stress, and extracellular serotonin (5HT), dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) in both hemispheres of lateral orbital frontal cortices (lOFC) in the adult rat. We hypothesized that prenatal protein malnutrition would alter extracellular concentrations of cortical monoamines. The effects of an acute restraint stress were also assessed because PPM alters the brain's response to stress. We used adult male, Long-Evans rats [10 prenatally malnourished (6% casein) and 10 prenatally well-nourished (25% casein)]. Samples were collected from the left and right hemispheres of the lOFC every 20 min for 6 hr total and quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). After 2 hr of sampling, animals were exposed to a 40-min restraint stress. Extracellular levels of NE were significantly higher in PPM animals than in well-nourished controls across both hemispheres at all time-points. In contrast, baseline levels of 5HT and DA levels did not differ between nutritional groups. 5HT levels, but not NE or DA levels, were elevated compared to baseline levels in both nutritional groups and in both hemispheres during the first 20 min of stress exposure. These data highlight the impact of PPM on neuromodulatory systems and the profile of changes in response to acute stress. Additional studies are needed to determine how these basal and stress-related responses impact cognitive performance and whether these differences persist during cognitive testing. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
  • Authors

  • Church, Nicholas T
  • Weissner, Wendy
  • Galler, Janina R
  • Amaral, Ana C
  • Rosene, Douglas L
  • McGaughy, Jill
  • Rushmore, Richard J
  • Larrabee, Eben
  • Mokler, David J
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 2021
  • Published In


  • Animals
  • Dopamine
  • Female
  • Male
  • Malnutrition
  • Microdialysis
  • Norepinephrine
  • Prefrontal Cortex
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Serotonin
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 629
  • End Page

  • 641
  • Volume

  • 135
  • Issue

  • 5