In previous investigations we added a physical stress (mild pain) to the "classical" post-natal psychological stress in male mice, and we found that this combination produced a series of dysmetabolic signs very similar to mild human type-2 diabetes. Here, for the first time we demonstrate that within this diabetes model at least two groups of signs depend on the unbalance of two different endogenous systems. Newborn male mice were daily exposed to stressful procedures for 21 days (brief mother separation plus sham injection). Other groups underwent the same procedure, and also received naloxone (Na) to block μ-δ endogenous receptors, or a phosphorothioate antisense oligonucleotide (AS) directed against pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)-mRNA [to block adrenocorticotropin (ACTH)- and POMC-derived opioid peptides]. Adult mice which received only post-natal stress increased body weight (+7.5%), abdominal overweight (+74%), fasting glycemia (+43%), plasma corticosterone (+110%), plasma (+169%) and pituitary (+153%) ACTH levels. Conversely, hypothalamic ACTH and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) were reduced (-70% and -75%, respectively). Neonatal AS administration reverted all parameters to control values. Neonatal naloxone had little or no influence on glucose, corticosterone, ACTH, CRH levels, whereas it prevented body overweight and abdominal overweight. We conclude that, within this type-2 diabetes model in male mice at least two endocrino-neurohumoral systems are damaged, one concerning the opioid system, and the other concerning HPA hormones. The use of the two drugs was of primary importance to demonstrate this statement, and to demonstrate that these two groups of signs could be defined as "separate entities" following our complex post-natal stress model.
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