2019 Volume 13 Issue 6 Pages 546-555
Prolonged or intense exposure to environmental noise (EN) has been associated with a number of changes in auditory organs as well as other brain structures. Notably, males and females have shown different susceptibilities to acoustic damage as well as different responses to environmental stressors. Rodent models have evidence of sex-specific changes in brain structures involved in noise and sound processing. As a common effect, experimental models have demonstrated that dendrite arborizations reconfigure in response to aversive conditions in several brain regions. Here, we examined the effect of chronic noise on dendritic reorganization and c-Fos expression patterns of both sexes. During 21 days male and female rats were exposed to a rats' audiogram-fitted adaptation of a noisy environment. Golgi-Cox and c-Fos staining were performed at auditory cortices (AC) and hippocampal regions. Sholl analysis and c-Fos counts were conducted for evidence of intersex differences. In addition, pro-BDNF serum levels were also measured. We found different patterns of c-Fos expression in hippocampus and AC. While in AC expression levels showed rapid and intense increases starting at 2 h, hippocampal areas showed slower rises that reached the highest levels at 21 days. Sholl analysis also evidenced regional differences in response to noise. Dendritic trees were reduced after 21 days in hippocampus but not in AC. Meanwhile, pro-BDNF levels augmented after EN exposure. In all analyzed variables, exposed males were the most affected. These findings suggest that noise may exert differential effects on male and female brains and that males could be more vulnerable to the chronic effects of noise.