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Behav Neurosci. 2005 Feb;119(1):293-301.

Neonatal infection induces memory impairments following an immune challenge in adulthood.

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Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0345, USA.


Exposure to infectious agents during early postnatal life often alters glucocorticoid responses to stress and immune outcomes in adulthood. The authors examined whether neonatal infection results in memory impairments in adult animals. Rats infected with Escherichia coli (E. coli) as neonates displayed impaired memory for a recently explored context in adulthood. This impairment, however, was only observed in rats that received a peripheral immune challenge (lipopolysaccharide; LPS) immediately following context exposure. Adult rats treated neonatally with E. coli also had decreased hippocampal astrocytes compared with phosphate-buffered saline-treated rats, but displayed increased astrocyte reactivity in the hippocampus and decreased brain interleukin-1beta following lipopolysaccharide. Infection during development appears to alter glia within the hippocampus, which may contribute to altered cytokine responses and memory impairment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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