Do Autistic and Depressed Rats Express the Same Type of Maternal Care?

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Zaccarelli-Magalhaes J.
Manes M.
Feba L.S.
Abreu G.R.
Florio J.C.
Ricci E.L.
Felicio L.F.
Spinosa H.S.
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© 2023 IBROAutism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is more frequently diagnosed in men. Nevertheless, through current diagnostic tools, women have also been found to be affected by this disorder, but in different ways. Few studies have been conducted regarding unique periods of life, such as motherhood. Yet, extant literature has already described the existence of a comorbidity between autism and postpartum depression. Thus, this study aimed to compare the maternal care sphere between two animal models of these diseases. Lactating rats were subdivided into three groups (n = 8 animals/group): 1) control dams; 2) maternal separation (MS) dams, separated from their litter for 3 h daily from lactating day (LD) 2–12 for postpartum depression induction; and 3) valproic acid (VPA) dams, which were the pups of dams treated with 400 mg/kg of VPA (i.p.) on gestational day 12.5 for autism induction. Maternal care tests were performed during lactation and, after weaning, dams were euthanized for the analysis of dopaminergic system on the prefrontal cortex. The results showed an impairment of maternal care of MS dams and an improvement of VPA dams, as well as alterations on dopaminergic system that corroborates the behavior data. These findings indicate that VPA dams express better maternal care, even with cognitive and socialization difficulties. This is probably due to a hyper-focus, as opposed to MS dams, which mimic the maternal care dysfunction expressed by women with postpartum depression.
Assuntos Scopus
Animals , Autistic Disorder , Depression, Postpartum , Female , Humans , Lactation , Male , Maternal Behavior , Maternal Deprivation , Rats