J Neurogastroenterol Motil  
Maternal Separation Induced Visceral Hypersensitivity from Childhood to Adulthood
Lisha Yi, Haiqin Zhang, Huihui Sun, Lu Zhou, Ying Chen, Liqian Xuan, Yuanxi Jiang, and Shuchang Xu*
Department of Gastroenterology, Tongji Institute of Digestive Diseases, Tongji Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Correspondence to: Shuchang Xu, PhD
Department of Gastroenterology, Tongji Institute of Digestive Diseases, Tongji Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, No. 389 Xin Cun Road, Shanghai 200065, China
Tel: +86-21-66111287, Fax: +86-21-56050191, E-mail: xsc-students@hotmail.com
Lisha Yi and Haiqin Zhang contributed equally to this work.
Received: May 30, 2016; Revised: January 1, 2017; Accepted: January 19, 2017; Published online: February 25, 2017.
© The Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. All rights reserved.

cc This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background/AimsEarly adverse life events (EALs) are relevant to irritable bowel syndrome in adulthood. Maternal separation (MS), as one of the EALs, has proved to induce visceral hypersensitivity in adult rats. However, the effect of MS on visceral hypersensitvity from the post-weaning period to adulthood remains unknown.
MethodsOne hundred and ten neonatal SD rats were randomly divided into 2 groups: rats in the MS group were exposed to 3 hours daily MS on postnatal day (PND) 2-14; the normal control (NC) group remained undisturbed. Visceral sensitivity was determined by measuring the visceromotor response to colorectal distention on PND21, 35, and 56. Anxiety-like behaviors were measured by the open field test.
ResultsCompared with NC rats, MS rats showed significant visceral hypersensitivity from the post-weaning period to adult. The proportion of visceral hypersensitive rats decreased with age from 87.5% to 70.0% in the female MS group and from 90.0% to 66.7% in the male MS group. The relative VMR ratio of MS and NC on PND21 was higher than PND35 and PND56. MS rats showed decreased ability of movement and exploration to the novel environment in the post-weaning period, obesity in the prepubertal period, and more anxiety-like behaviors in adulthood.
ConclusionsMS can significantly affect visceral sensitivity and behaviors of rats in different age stages, especially in the post-weaning period. Visceral hypersensitivity of MS rats is more pronounced in the post-weaning period and slightly restored in adults. Thus, visceral hypersensitivity in the post-weaning period might play a more meaningful pathophysiologic role in the formation of adult irritable bowel syndrome.
Keywords: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Maternal deprivation, Visceral hypersensitivity

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