Effect of maternal care on hearing onset induced by developmental changes in the auditory periphery

Shana Adise, Aminat Saliu, Natalia Maldonado, Vivek Khatri, Luis Cardoso, Adrián Rodríguez-Contreras*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Handling (H) and cross-fostering (CF) rodent pups during postnatal development triggers changes in maternal behavior which in turn trigger long-term physiological changes in the offspring. However, less is known about the short-term effects of H and CF on infant development. In this study we hypothesized that manipulations of maternal care affect the onset of hearing in Wistar rats. To test this hypothesis we obtained auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) and micro-CT x-ray scans to measure changes in the development of the auditory periphery in H and CF pups manipulated at postnatal day (P)1, P5, or P9. We found evidence of changes in hearing development in H and CF pups compared with naive pups, including changes in the percentage of animals with ABRs during development, a decrease in ABR thresholds between P13 and P15, and anatomical results consistent with an accelerated formation of the middle ear cavity and opening of the ear canal. Biochemical measurements showed elevated levels of thyroid hormone in plasma from naive and CF pups. These results provide evidence that manipulations of maternal care accelerate hearing onset in Wistar rats. Understanding the mechanisms by which maternal care affects hearing onset opens new opportunities to study experience-dependent development of mammalian hearing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4528-4533
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2014


  • Auditory development
  • Enrichment
  • Experience-dependent development
  • Middle-ear development
  • Plasticity
  • Thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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