Maternal exercise reverses morphologic changes in amygdala neurons produced by prenatal stress

Carlos Ancatén González, Cristian Gutiérrez-Rojas, Carlos Bustamante Valdés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective Researchers have studied the potential adverse effect of prenatal stress on nervous system in the offspring. In spite of this, the amygdala, an important structure of the limbic system, has not received attention. Otherwise, exercise has been shown to have benefits over neuronal cells, both morphologic and physiologically, but the potential effect on the amygdala has not been studied. Amygdala seems to be important as key therapeutic target for neuropsychiatric disorders. For these reasons, our objective was to evaluate the morphological effect of prenatal stress over neurons belonging to amygdala and the potential beneficial effect of maternal exercise. Materials and methods Female mice were submitted to prenatal stress by restriction and the morphologic effects over the male offspring were evaluated. Neurons belonging to lateral and basolateral nuclei from amygdala were measured and analyzed. Results A dendritic lengths increase was found in pyramidal and stellate cells in both nuclei when prenatal stress was applied. However, this increase was reversed by maternal exercise until levels similar to control animals. Conclusion Maternal stress produces morphologic changes in the neurons belonging to basolateral and lateral nucleus of amygdala, but these changes could be modified by maternal exercise, so this intervention could have a therapeutic effect on behavioral disturbances related to amygdalic disfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalNeurology Psychiatry and Brain Research
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Amygdala
  • Maternal exercise
  • Neuronal morphology
  • Prenatal stress


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