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Neurosci Res. 2004 Mar;48(3):345-53.

Neonatal impact of leukemia inhibitory factor on neurobehavioral development in rats.

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Division of Molecular Neurobiology, Brain Research Institute, Niigata University, Asahimachi-dori 1-757, Niigata 951-8585, Japan.


Cytokines have been implicated in the etiology or pathology of various psychiatric diseases of developmental origin such as autism and schizophrenia. Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is induced by a variety of brain insults and known to have many influences on mature and immature nervous system. Here, we assessed the neurobehavioral and pathological consequences of peripheral administration of LIF in newborn rats. Subcutaneous LIF injection induced STAT3 phosphorylation in many brain regions and increased glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunoreactivity in the neocortex, suggesting that LIF had direct effects in the central nervous system. The LIF-treated rats displayed decreased motor activity during juvenile stages, and developed abnormal prepulse inhibition in the acoustic startle test during and after adolescence. They displayed normal learning ability in active avoidance test, however. Brain neuronal structures and startle responses were grossly normal, except for the cortical astrogliosis during neonatal LIF administration. These results indicate that LIF induction in the periphery of the infant has a significant, but discrete impact on neurobehavioral development.

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