Exposure to dim light at night during early development increases adult anxiety-like responses

Borniger, J. C., McHenry, Z. D., Abi Salloum, B. A., Nelson, R. J. (June 2014) Exposure to dim light at night during early development increases adult anxiety-like responses. Physiol Behav, 133. pp. 99-106. ISSN 1873-507X (Electronic)0031-9384 (Linking)

URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24857721
DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.05.012


Early experiences produce effects that may persist throughout life. Therefore, to understand adult phenotype, it is important to investigate the role of early environmental stimuli in adult behavior and health. Artificial light at night (LAN) is an increasingly common phenomenon throughout the world. However, animals, including humans, evolved under dark night conditions. Many studies have revealed affective, immune, and metabolic alterations provoked by aberrant light exposure and subsequent circadian disruption. Pups are receptive to entraining cues from the mother and then light early during development, raising the possibility that the early life light environment may influence subsequent behavior. Thus, to investigate potential influences of early life exposure to LAN on adult phenotype, we exposed mice to dim (~5 lux; full spectrum white light) or dark (~0 lux) nights pre- and/or postnatally. After weaning at 3 weeks of age, all mice were maintained in dark nights until adulthood (9 weeks of age) when behavior was assessed. Mice exposed to dim light in early life increased anxiety-like behavior and fearful responses on the elevated plus maze and passive avoidance tests. These mice also displayed reduced growth rates, which ultimately normalized during adolescence. mRNA expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin previously linked to early life environment and adult phenotype, was not altered in the prefrontal cortex or hippocampus by early life LAN exposure. Serum corticosterone concentrations were similar between groups at weaning, suggesting that early life LAN does not elicit a long-term physiologic stress response. Dim light exposure did not influence behavior on the open field, novel object, sucrose anhedonia, or forced swim tests. Our data highlight the potential deleterious consequences of low levels of light during early life to development and subsequent behavior. Whether these changes are due to altered maternal behavior or persistent circadian abnormalities incurred by LAN remains to be determined.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: diseases & disorders > mental disorders > anxiety disorders
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > biological clock
bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing > protein structure, function, modification > protein types > brain derived neurotrophic factor
organism description > animal > mammal > rodent > mouse
bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing > DNA, RNA structure, function, modification > mRNA
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Borniger lab
Depositing User: Adrian Gomez
Date: 22 June 2014
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2020 18:58
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2020 18:58
Related URLs:
URI: https://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/38849

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