Acute and repeated gestational stress affect offspring learning and activity in rats

Aron Weller, Hanania Glaubman, Shlomo Yehuda, Tamir Caspy, Yehuda Ben-Uria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This study assessed possible long-lasting effects of mild, indirect prenatal stress upon offspring. Dams were restrained for 30 minutes either once or four times during the third trimester of gestation. Their male offspring were challenged in adulthood with a series of appetitive operant learning tasks. Both acute and repeated prenatal maternal restraint retarded the performance of the offspring in a selective manner: deficits appeared during the reversal stage of an operant discrimination task, with no effect on acquisition, discrimination or extinction. Repeated, but not acute, maternal stress was also associated with offspring hyperactivity. This highlights the differential impact of varying the stress schedule. Furthermore, use of multiple measures of learning uncovered a long-lasting, selective effect of relatively mild, indirect prenatal manipulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988


  • Activity
  • Acute stress
  • Discrimination
  • Learning ability
  • Prenatal stress
  • Repeated stress
  • Reversal


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