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Prenatal stress could have great influence on development of offspring and might alter cognitive function and other physiological processes of children. The current study was conducted to study the effect of physical or psychological prenatal stress on addictive and anxiety-like behavior of male and female offspring during their adolescence period (postnatal day (PND) 40). Adult female rats were exposed to physical (swimming) or psychological (observing another female rat swimming) stress from day six of gestation for 10 days. Male and female offspring were assayed for anxiety-like behavior, motor and balance function and morphine conditioned place preference using the open field, elevated plus maze (EPM), rotarod and wire grip assay and conditioned place preference. Offspring in both physical and psychological prenatal stress groups demonstrated significant increase in anxiety-like behavior in EPM paradigm, but no alterations were observed in motor and balance function of animals. Offspring in the psychological prenatal stress group had an increased preference for morphine in comparison to control and physical prenatal stress groups. Results of the current study demonstrated that animals exposed to psychological stress during fetal development are at a higher risk of developing addictive behaviors. Further research might elucidate the exact mechanisms involved to provide better preventive and therapeutic interventions.
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