Effects of Intrauterine Position on the Metabolic Capacity of the Hypothalamus of Female Gerbils 1 1Results of this study have previously been published in abstract form (Jones, D.; Gonzalez-Lima, F.; Crews, D.; Galef, B. G., Jr.; Clark, M. M. Effects of intrauterine position on hypothalamic activity of female gerbils: A cytochrome oxidase histochemical study. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 20(3): 1739; 1994 [26]. Academic Article uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • The intrauterine position that a rodent fetus occupies relative to members of the same or opposite gender affects both its reproductive physiology and behavior when adult. Cytochrome oxidase histochemistry was used to assess regional differences in the oxidative metabolic capacity of the hypothalamus of female Mongolian gerbils that developed in utero between 2 female fetuses (n = 15) or between 2 male fetuses (n = 14). Cytochrome oxidase reactivity was measured densitometrically by experimenters unaware of subject intrauterine position. Gray-to-white matter ratios of optical density in 11 brain regions were used as a normalized index of metabolic capacity. Significant group differences in the metabolic capacity of the medial and the posterior parts of the anterior hypothalamus were revealed. Females that developed in utero between 2 male fetuses showed significant increases (19-22%) in cytochrome oxidase reactivity in these brain regions compared to that in females that developed between 2 female fetuses. The medial part of the anterior hypothalamus contributes to copulatory behavior, whereas the posterior part of the anterior hypothalamus may be involved in the control of pituitary gonadotropin secretion. Both these functions are influenced by intrauterine position during fetal life. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of metabolic changes in hypothalamic areas of the adult related to the differences in intrauterine position.

publication date

  • April 1997