Can perinatal SSRI exposure affect sexual behavior later in life? Early Developmental Fluoxetine Exposed Female Rats Observed in a Seminatural Environment
Renewed interests in sexual behavior research stems from human reports of negative symptoms of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). The use of SSRIs, during pregnancy might impact the developing child, due to the drug’s ability to cross the placenta and also be present in breastmilk. Perinatal SSRI exposure thus elevates serotonin levels in the developing brain, during phases where serotonin acts as a neurotrophic factor. Previous literature reported that SSRIs given to adults affect female sexual behavior in a negative way, in contrast little is known regarding the effects of perinatal SSRI exposure on offspring. Our study investigates perinatal fluoxetine exposure in rats and the effects on female sexual behavior during the length of the behavioral oestrous cycle, housed in a seminatural environment. Mothers received daily oral gavage of 10 mg/kg fluoxetine (FLX) or vehicle (Ctrl) from gestational day 0 until postnatal day 21. Testing of adult offspring consisted of cohorts of eight rats (four females and four males) in a seminatural environment. All females were ovariectomized before entering and then hormonally primed on the 7th day in the environment to induce sexual receptivity. Female sexual behavior was scored and analyzed from the first and including the last lordosis (behavioral oestrous period), and within each copulatory bout (a bout ended when there was no lordosis within the next hour) during the behavioral estrus. None of the data indicate that perinatal fluoxetine exposure affects female sexual behavior at adulthood. We further found that the behavioral estrus of Flx females had the same length and pattern as Ctrl females. When the behavioral oestrous was divided in several copulatory bouts, with a focus on the most active one, no differences in behavior was found. Thus, we conclude that perinatal SSRI exposure does not affect female sexual behavior.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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