N-acetylcysteine for gestational stress-induced behavioral toxicity

Liegelin Kavitha Bernhardt, K. Lakshminarayana Bairy, Sampath Madhyastha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Stress during pregnancy has been implicated in various behavioral and emotional alterations in the offspring. Since N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been shown to play neuroprotective role in offspring subjected to various manipulations in prenatal environment, we have examined the effects of this antioxidant against prenatal stress induced behavioral toxicity. Pregnant rats were restrained thrice daily for 45 minutes during early and late gestational periods. Other groups received early and late gestational restrain stress combined with NAC treatment throughout the gestational period. Behavioral and emotional alterations in offspring were investigated at different postnatal ages. Offspring of rats exposed late gestational stress exhibited increased anxiety like behavior during early growing period as demonstrated by greater time spent in dark area of darkbright arena. Increased rearing near the walls of open field and greater number of fecal pellets in the open field was also suggestive of enhanced anxiety. These behavioral alterations were however mitigated by prenatal NAC treatment. Interestingly the anxiety like behavior observed during the early growing period of prenatally stressed rats seemed to have reversed. The exploratory activity and motor development were not affected by prenatal stress. Our results suggest that prenatal stress can give rise to increased anxiety like behavior in offspring during a crucial period in life and the supplementation of thiol antioxidants like NAC may prove useful in managing such behavioral deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-520
Number of pages8
JournalResearch Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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