Maternal androgen excess and obesity induce sexually dimorphic anxiety-like behavior in the offspring

Maria Manti, Romina Fornes, Xiaojuan Qi, Elin Folmerz, Angelica Lindén Hirschberg, Thais de Castro Barbosa, Manuel Maliqueo, Anna Benrick, Elisabet Stener-Victorin
  • The FASEB Journal, August 2018, Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology (FASEB)
  • DOI: 10.1096/fj.201701263rr

What is it about?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition associated with androgen excess and often obesity, increases the risk for anxiety disorders in women. Fetal exposure to androgens is evidenced to increase anxiety-like behavior in adult offspring, but the impact of an obese PCOS-like maternal environment is unknown. We demonstrate here that maternal androgens increase anxiety and upregulate anxiety-related genes in the amygdala and hypothalamus of female mouse offspring. In contrast, maternal obesity increases anxiety and dysregulate genes related to anxiety and epigenetics in male offspring. Offspring obesity leads to transcriptional changes in both sexes. These findings define the interplay between androgens and obesity for the onset of anxiety disorders in the offspring of women with PCOS and emphasize the sex-specific responses to environmental challenges.

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The following have contributed to this page: Elisabet Stener-Victorin and Maria Manti