Prenatal Poly I:C Challenge Affects Behaviors and Neurotransmission via Elevated Neuroinflammation Responses in Female Juvenile Rats

Publication Name

The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology


BACKGROUND: Exposure to polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid (Poly I:C) in pregnant rats has been reported to cause schizophrenia-like behaviors and abnormal neurotransmissions in adult, particularly male, offspring. However, what is less well understood are the effects of maternal Poly I:C exposure on adolescent behaviors and neurotransmission in female juvenile rats. METHODS: Female adolescent Poly I:C offspring were constructed by treating with 5 mg/kg Poly I:C on timed pregnant rats (gestation day 15). A battery of behavioral tests was conducted during postnatal day 35-60. Neurotransmitter receptors and inflammation markers in brain regions were evaluated by RT-qPCR on postnatal day 60. RESULTS: Open field, elevated plus maze, and forced swimming tests revealed that prenatal Poly I:C exposure led to elevated anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors in female adolescent offspring. Deficits in pre-pulse inhibition and social interaction were also observed. However, the Poly I:C rats had better performance than the controls in the novel object recognition memory test, which demonstrated a behavioral phenotype with improved cognitive function. Prenatal Poly I:C exposure caused brain region-specific elevation of the P2X7 receptor- and NF-κB-NLRP3-IL-1β inflammatory signaling in female juvenile rats. Prenatal Poly I:C exposure decreased expression of GABAA receptor subunits Gabrb3 in the prefrontal cortex and Gabrb1 and dopamine D2 receptor in the hippocampus, but increased NMDA receptor subunit Grin2a in the prefrontal cortex, 5-HT2A in the hippocampus, and Gabrb3 and D2 receptor in the nucleus accumben. CONCLUSIONS: Prenatal Poly I:C challenge causes behavioral deficits and brain-specific neurotransmission changes via elevated neuroinflammation responses in female adolescent offspring rats.

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Funding Number

APP 1104184

Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



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