Chronic depression-like phenotype in male offspring mice following perinatal exposure to naturally contaminated eels with a mixture of organic and inorganic pollutants

Imen Dridi, Rachid Soulimani, Jaouad Bouayed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Previously, we demonstrated that maternal exposure to high, intermediate, or lowly contaminated European eels with a mixture of chemicals, during pregnancy and lactation, resulted in adult despair-like behavior, selectively in male offspring mice. Here, we investigate if depression-like behavior in offspring males was transient or permanent by monitoring immobility behavior, a measure of behavioral despair, at three distinct stages of life, including young adult (post-natal day (PND) 55), mature adult (PND 200) and middle (PNDs 335–336) age, in the forced swimming (FST) and the tail suspension (TST) tests. Oxidative stress markers including malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities were evaluated in the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum of middle-aged animals. Findings showed a significant enhancement of immobility behavior in the TST performed at young adult age (all p < 0.05) in the FST carried out at mature adult age (all p < 0.001) and in both behavioral tests realized at middle age (all p < 0.05, except one p = 0.06) in mice perinatally exposed to eels compared with non-exposed controls. Antioxidant-related enzyme activities, including SOD and CAT, were only elevated in the hippocampus of middle-aged males perinatally exposed to the two more polluted eels (all p < 0.05). Further, lipid peroxidation, assessed by MDA levels, was not found to be differentially regulated in the selected areas of middle-aged brains of exposed mice (all p > 0.05). Collectively, this suggested limited oxidative metabolism disturbances in middle-aged brains exposed to eels. In summary, our results highlighted that offspring males perinatally exposed to naturally contaminated reared and river eels with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals displayed chronic depression-like phenotype. As extrapolation of data to humans should be done with precaution, retrospective and prospective epidemiological studies are needed to clarify this potential relationship, stressed in our animal model, between maternal polluted fish consumption and chronically low mood in offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-165
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chronic depression-related behavior
  • Early-life exposure
  • Heavy metals
  • Permanent effects
  • Polluted fish
  • POPs

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