Volume 15, Issue 2 (March & April 2024)                   BCN 2024, 15(2): 261-272 | Back to browse issues page

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Jain A, Dhir N, Singh H, Sharma A R, Medhi B, Prakash A. Disrupting Maternal Behavior and Inducing Cannibalism Due to Valproic Acid: An Unexplored Insight. BCN 2024; 15 (2) :261-272
URL: http://bcn.iums.ac.ir/article-1-2503-en.html
1- Experimental Pharmacology Laboratory, Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India.
2- Department of Neurology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India.
Introduction: Valproic acid (VPA) is the most widely used chemical to develop the preclinical model of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, in addition to inducing autism, it causes different teratogenic effects like teeth malformation, tail kink, and abnormal body growth in offspring. So far, no study has explored VPA-induced maternal misbehavior, miscarriage, and maternal cannibalism. We aimed to determine the cannibalistic effects of VPA in pregnant female Wistar rats and VPA’s influence on causing miscarriage frequency.
Methods: Our study was conducted on pregnant Wistar rats. On gestation day (GD) 12.5, they were treated with VPA (600 mg/kg intraperitoneal) dissolved in saline at 250 mg/mL concentration. The observations were mean litter size, mean male/female pups, mean mortality, maternal cannibalism, mean number of pups alive, cannibalism of malformed pups, miscarriage, survival analysis of pups, and odds and risk ratio were calculated for deaths observed in both study (control and VPA-treated) groups. The study was conducted till the weaning period. 
Results: VPA-exposed pregnant females portrayed significantly decreased litter size (P<0.0001), significantly higher cannibalistic behavior (P=0.0023), and significantly higher cannibalism of malformed pups (P=0.0484) than the control group. VPA had caused complete pregnancy loss (miscarriage) in 5 pregnant females. Moreover, the VPA group’s mortality percentage (P=0.0019) was significantly higher than the control group.
Conclusion: Overall, VPA has marked teratogenic effects (anatomical and morphological changes in offspring) with maternal behavior disruption, which causes cannibalism in Wistar female rats. The current manuscript findings can aid in investigating the novel mechanisms involved in maternal behavior disruption during the development of the VPA autism model.
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Type of Study: Original | Subject: Behavioral Neuroscience
Received: 2022/06/30 | Accepted: 2022/08/9 | Published: 2024/03/1

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