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Belhanes H.,The Yezreel Valley College | Zubedat S.,Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory | Zubedat S.,The Emek Medical Center | Zubedat S.,The Yezreel Valley College | And 3 more authors.

Background: It is currently accepted that complex behavior and mental disorder results from a combination of biological susceptibility and exposure to environmental stimuli. Most of the gene-environment interaction models focus on the interaction between the stimuli and a single candidate gene. We suggest that an alternative approach is interference with the expression of multiple genes followed by exposure to environmental insults. Methods: Early interference with gene transcription was performed by treatment of 7 days old Wistar male rats for 4 days with the Sp1/DNA binding inhibitor, mithramycin. Environmental insult was mimicked by exposing these rats during adulthood (34 days) to sub-chronic (12 days, n= 30) or chronic stress (28 days, n= 48). The effects of mithramycin and stress treatment on the behavioral response and serum corticosterone concentration were assessed. Results: Exposure of mithramycin treated rats to sub-chronic stress led to anxious behavior in the open field test, high startle response, low sucrose preference, indifference to novel objects and high serum corticosterone concentration. However, exposure to chronic stress resulted in normal sucrose preference, startle response and serum corticosterone, novelty seeking behavior and reduced anxiety. In saline treated rats the extension of stress duration led to behavioral and hormonal adaptation to stress. Conclusion: Our study suggests that postnatal temporal interference with multiple gene expression can lead to hyper-responsiveness to environmental stimuli, the features of which affects the phenotypic outcomes. Such a paradigm may be used to model gene-environmental interaction in the etiology of behavioral disorders. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Avital A.,The Yezreel Valley College | Avital A.,Weizmann Institute of Science | Dolev T.,The Yezreel Valley College | Aga-Mizrachi S.,The Yezreel Valley College | Zubedat S.,The Yezreel Valley College

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) has been emerging as a world-wide psychiatric disorder. There appears to be an increasing rate of stimulant drug abuse, specifically methylphenidate (MPH) which is the most common treatment for ADHD, among individuals who do not meet the criteria for ADHD and particularly for cognitive enhancement among university students. However, the long term effects of exposure to MPH are unknown. Thus, in light of a developmental approach in humans, we aimed to test the effects of adolescence exposure to enriched environment (EE) followed by MPH administration during early adulthood, on reactions to stress in adulthood. Specifically, at approximate adolescence [post natal days (PND) 30-60] rats were reared in EE and were treated with MPH during early adulthood (PND 60-90). Adult (PND 90-92) rats were exposed to mild stress and starting at PND 110, the behavioral and endocrine effects of the combined drug and environmental conditions were assessed. Following adolescence EE, long term exposure to MPH led to decreased locomotor activity and increased sucrose preference. EE had a beneficial effect on PPI (attentive abilities), which was impaired by long term exposure to MPH. Finally, the interaction between EE and, exposure to MPH led to long-term elevated corticosterone and testosterone levels. In view of the marked increase in MPH consumption over the past decade, vigilance is crucial in order to prevent potential drug abuse and its long term detrimental consequences. © 2011 Avital et al. Source

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