Effects of Maternal Stress and Cortisol Treatment on Offspring Anxiety Behaviour and Stress Responses In Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

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Title: Effects of Maternal Stress and Cortisol Treatment on Offspring Anxiety Behaviour and Stress Responses In Zebrafish (Danio rerio) and Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
Authors: Redfern, Julia
Date: 2016
Abstract: In fish, maternal stress prior to spawn has been reported to have effects on offspring phenotype. Cortisol, the main glucocorticoid (GC) stress hormone, has been proposed as a potential mediator of such effects because of its organizational role in early teleost development. The present thesis tested whether maternal social stress or treatment with cortisol (as a proxy for maternal stress) prior to spawn affects the cortisol response to stress and anxiety-related behaviours in offspring. In zebrafish (Danio rerio), offspring of dominant females exhibited greater boldness at 6 days post-fertilization (DPF). Interestingly, offspring of females that engaged in social interactions, regardless of the resulting social status of the two females, exhibited greater survival at 1 DPF, a greater fear-related decrease in activity in response to bright light at 6 DPF, and decreased baseline whole-body cortisol content at 0 and 30 DPF. A field experiment with wild largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) revealed that maternal cortisol treatment prior to spawn also affected offspring phenotype; offspring of cortisol-treated females had higher masses right after hatch, had greater fear responses, were less bold and less anxious, and exhibited an attenuated cortisol response to an acute stressor. Together, the results of the present thesis suggest that effects of maternal stress prior to spawn on offspring survival, growth, responses to stress, and anxiety-related behaviours are mediated, at least in part, by elevated maternal cortisol but not likely via increased deposition of maternal cortisol into eggs. The effects of maternal stress and cortisol treatment on offspring reported in the present thesis also suggest that maternal stress may prime offspring with adaptive traits to better survive in a stressful environment.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35332
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-290
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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