Hyperactivity and alteration of the midbrain dopaminergic system in maternally stressed male mice offspring

Gi Hoon Son, Sooyoung Chung, Dongho Geum, Sang Soo Kang, Wan Sung Choi, Kyungjin Kim, Sukwoo Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We recently demonstrated that prolonged maternal stress produces profound and long-lasting deficits in brain functions by programming a subset of target genes. We have now examined the possible effects of prenatal stress on the motility of adult offspring and dopamine (DA)-related gene expression in their midbrains, one of the target brain regions of stress hormones. Maternally stressed adult male mice showed impaired response habituation to novelty, and increased wheel-running activity associated with altered responses to DA receptor and DA transporter (DAT) blockers. Along with the behavioral changes, the expression profiles of several genes of the midbrain DAergic system appeared to be altered. Expression of DAT was reduced and expression of DA receptors and striatal DA-regulated neuropeptide genes was also affected. Taken together, the present findings indicate that maternal stress can cause hyperactivity in adult offspring associated with alterations in the midbrain DAergic system suggestive of a functional hyperdopaminergic state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-829
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 19 Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Korea Ministry of Science and Technology through the Brain Research Center of the 21st Century Frontier Research Program. G.H. Son and S. Chung were supported by Brain Korea 21 Research Fellowships from the Korea Ministry of Education.


  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Dopamine (DA)
  • Dopamine transporter (DAT)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Maternal stress


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