OBJECTIVES: One of the systems, which can be prenatally reprogrammed, is the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). The aim of our experiment was to determine how prenatal activation of RAAS via exposure to elevated levels of angiotensin II (Ang II) influences the rat offspring's emotionality.
METHODS: Pregnant female rats were implanted with osmotic minipumps that continually released Ang II and oval object of the same shape and size was implanted into control dams. The adult offspring (AngII and control groups) were tested in rat grimace scale (RGS), open field test (OF) and elevated plus maze (EPM).
RESULTS: Psychological stress increased the RGS score in both groups of animals. AngII animals had significantly lower RGS score (i.e. less negative emotions) in the home cage but higher index of emotional reactivity in RGS. AngII animals had also significantly lower frequency of defecation in OF and had no effect on changes in anxiety-like behaviour.
CONCLUSION: We concluded that maternal activation of RAAS modified some aspect of emotionality of experimental animals and led to an enhanced emotional response to stress situation.