Retrieval of Pups by Female Rats Undernourished during the Pre- and Neonatal Period


Early mother-litter bonds alterations elicited by pre- and neonatal undernutrition are a source of long-lasting brain and functional disorders such as exploratory and emotional deficits and maternal unresponsiveness to the newborn. Here, we examined the prolonged effects of gestational and neonatal food restriction on the retrieval of pups and nest building activity by primiparous adult Wistar rats on postnatal days (PDs) 4, 8, and 12. In early undernourished dams, the latency to retrieve the first or the fifth pups in the litter was extended; and nest building activity was significantly reduced. Additionally, early underfed dams retrieved the pups in a rough manner, eliciting distress cries and grasping the pups by unusual body areas. The current findings suggest that pre- and neonatal food restriction may affect the anatomical and functional forebrain structures, modulating the cognitive and motor components underlying maternal responsiveness.

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Felix, J. , Regalado, M. , Torrero, C. and Salas, M. (2014) Retrieval of Pups by Female Rats Undernourished during the Pre- and Neonatal Period. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 4, 325-333. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2014.47033.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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