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Prenatal Immune Challenge Affects Growth, Behavior, and Brain Dopamine in Offspring

Authors

  • JAN BAKOS,

    1. Laboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
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  • ROMAN DUNCKO,

    1. Laboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
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  • AIKATERINI MAKATSORI,

    1. Laboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
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  • ZDENO PIRNIK,

    1. Laboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
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  • ALEXANDER KISS,

    1. Laboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
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  • DANIELA JEZOVA

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
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Address for correspondence: Daniela Jezova, Laboratory of Pharmacological Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Vlarska 3, 833 06, Bratislava, Slovakia. Voice: +421-2-54773800; fax: +421-2-54774247. e-mail: ueenjezo@savba.sk

Abstract

Abstract: It is known that the development and plasticity of the neuroendocrine system can be affected by many factors, and that adverse events during the prenatal period can result in long-lasting changes in adulthood. This study was aimed at evaluating the possible consequences for offspring from chronic inflammation during pregnancy. Chronic inflammation was simulated by treatment with increasing doses of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to dams on days 15 through 19 of pregnancy. Attempts were made to prevent possible negative alterations by keeping animals in an enriched environment (EE). Maternal exposure to LPS resulted in a significant reduction of body weight of male offspring during the weaning period. This difference remained until the age of 63 days in controls (C), but not in animals reared in EE. The content of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens was found to be lower in prenatally stressed (PS) adult males. Furthermore, prenatal exposure to maternal immune challenge was associated with lower locomotor activity in elevated plus maze and increased number of skips in the beam-walking test, as observed in female offspring. No differences in ACTH and corticosterone concentrations with regard to prenatal treatment were found; however, both groups kept in EE showed increased levels of corticosterone as well as enlarged adrenal glands. Thus, immune activation during pregnancy may induce long-term changes in brain catecholamines and behavior, but it is not harmful to basal hormone secretion in the offspring.

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