How brain circuits are affected by infections in mothers and newborns

ScienceDaily | 3/28/2018 | Staff
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"Mounting evidence suggests that immune activation, such as prenatal viral infections and postnatal bacterial infections, can impact later-life brain development in humans," said Vadim Bolshakov, PhD, director of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at McLean Hospital and co-senior author of the paper. "While previous studies at McLean and elsewhere have focused on the behavioral symptoms produced by such immune activation, this study goes deeper, going to the cellular level to show how the brain's neural circuits are affected."

"Previous studies have helped demonstrate the types of things that can happen behaviorally as a result of immune system activation," added Bill Carlezon, PhD, chief of the Division of Basic Neuroscience at McLean Hospital, and co-senior author of the paper. "This research, however, is distinguishable in that it is an important step in telling us the biological basis of how these symptoms develop."

Impact - Activation - Brain - Researchers - Activation

To explore the impact of immune activation on the developing brain, the researchers induced either maternal or postnatal immune activation, or gave both treatments, in groups of pregnant mice and their offspring. Pregnant mothers were treated with polycytidylic acid, a chemical that simulates the effects of a viral infection, at a time point that approximates the third trimester of pregnancy in humans. The offspring were treated with a lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a chemical that simulates a bacterial infection and causes a temporary (1-3 day) activation of the immune system. The LPS was given at a time point that approximates the stage of brain development in humans right at the time of birth, thus mimicking the development of a bacterial infection during delivery.

Long after the treatments were applied, during a time point...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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