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Brain Behav Immun. 2010 Aug;24(6):881-97. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.03.005. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Effects of prenatal infection on brain development and behavior: a review of findings from animal models.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Verdun, Quebec, Canada. patricia.boksa@mcgill.ca

Abstract

Epidemiological studies with human populations indicate associations between maternal infection during pregnancy and increased risk in offspring for central nervous system (CNS) disorders including schizophrenia, autism and cerebral palsy. Since 2000, a large number of studies have used rodent models of systemic prenatal infection or prenatal immune activation to characterize changes in brain function and behavior caused by the prenatal insult. This review provides a comprehensive summary of these findings, and examines consistencies and trends across studies in an effort to provide a perspective on our current state of understanding from this body of work. Results from these animal modeling studies clearly indicate that prenatal immune activation can cause both acute and lasting changes in behavior and CNS structure and function in offspring. Across laboratories, studies vary with respect to the type, dose and timing of immunogen administration during gestation, species used, postnatal age examined and specific outcome measure quantified. This makes comparison across studies and assessment of replicability difficult. With regard to mechanisms, evidence for roles for several acute mediators of effects of prenatal immune activation has emerged, including circulating interleukin-6, increased placental cytokines and oxidative stress in the fetal brain. However, information required to describe the complete mechanistic pathway responsible for acute effects of prenatal immune activation on fetal brain is lacking, and no studies have yet addressed the issue of how acute prenatal exposure to an immunogen is transduced into a long-term CNS change in the postnatal animal. Directions for further research are discussed.

PMID:
20230889
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbi.2010.03.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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