Early-life stress has pervasive, typically detrimental, effects on physical and mental health across the lifespan. In rats, maternal-separation stress results in premature expression of an adult-like profile of fear regulation that predisposes stressed rats to persistent fear, one of the hallmarks of clinical anxiety. Probiotic treatment attenuates the effects of maternal separation on fear regulation. However, the neural pathways underlying these behavioral changes are unknown. Here, we examined the neural correlates of stress-induced alterations in fear behavior and their reversal by probiotic treatment. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to either standard rearing conditions or maternal-separation stress (postnatal days [P] 2–14). Some maternally-separated (MS) animals were also exposed to probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and L. helveticus) via the maternal drinking water during the period of stress.
Read more at: Science Direct