The long-lasting effects of early antipsychotic exposure during juvenile period on adult behaviours – A study in a poly I:C rat model

Publication Name

Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior


Second generation antipsychotic drugs including aripiprazole, olanzapine and risperidone are prescribed increasingly (mostly off-label) to treat various mental disorders in children and adolescents. Early treatment with antipsychotics during this period may have long-lasting behavioural impacts, but to date there have been only limited investigations. Maternal infection could be implicated in the aetiology of various mental disorders including schizophrenia. Exposure of pregnant rodents to polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid (Poly I:C) causes schizophrenia-like behavioural abnormalities and neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism spectrum disorders in offspring. This study, using a Poly I:C rat model, investigated the long-lasting effects of early aripiprazole, olanzapine and risperidone treatment in the childhood/adolescent period (postnatal day 22–50) on adult behaviours of male rats. The study showed that early treatment with three antipsychotics had different effects on long-term behavioural changes in adults. Prenatal Poly I:C exposure (5 mg/kg) at gestation day 15 caused deficits in pre-pulse inhibition and social interaction, as well as cognitive impairments, that could be partially improved by early antipsychotic treatment in the juvenile period. Early antipsychotic treatment during the childhood-adolescent period resulted in similar long-lasting effects on pre-pulse inhibition, anxiety- and depressive-related behaviours in both Poly I:C and healthy (control) male rats. Overall, these results suggest that both prenatal Poly I:C exposure and early antipsychotic treatment in the childhood/adolescent period had long-lasting effects on adult behaviours of male rats, while early antipsychotic treatment could partly prevent the onset of behavioural abnormalities resulting from prenatal insult.

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Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



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