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Brain Behav Immun. 2010 Nov;24(8):1301-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.06.005. Epub 2010 Jun 20.

Prenatal inflammation impairs adult neurogenesis and memory related behavior through persistent hippocampal TGFβ1 downregulation.

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Laboratory of Regenerative and Protective Therapies of the Nervous System, Foundation Leloir Institute, IIBBA-CONICET, 435 Av Patricias Argentinas, 1405 Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Prenatal exposure to inflammatory stimuli is known to influence adult brain function. In addition, adult hippocampal neurogenesis is impaired by a local pro-inflammatory microenvironment. On this basis, we hypothesized that a pro-inflammatory insult during gestation would have negative effects on adult neurogenesis in the offspring. Pregnant Wistar rats received subcutaneous injections of lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 0.5mg/kg) or saline every other day from gestational day 14 to 20. The adult offspring prenatally treated with LPS showed a decrease in the proliferating cells and the newborn neurons of the dentate gyrus. Furthermore, prenatal LPS treatment impaired performance in the neurogenesis-dependent novel object recognition test. Maternal care was impaired by prenatal LPS administration but did not contribute to the effects of prenatal LPS on adult neurogenesis. Persistent microglial activation and downregulated expression of transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFβ(1)) occurred specifically in the adult hippocampus of animals treated prenatally with LPS. Importantly, chronic hippocampal TGFβ(1) overexpression restored neurogenesis as well as recognition memory performance to control levels. These findings demonstrate that prenatal inflammation triggered by LPS impairs adult neurogenesis and recognition memory. Furthermore, we provide a model of reduced adult neurogenesis with long-lasting defined alterations in the neurogenic niche. Finally, we show that the expression of a single cytokine (TGFβ(1)) in the hippocampus can restore adult neurogenesis and its related behavior, highlighting the role of TGFβ(1) in these processes.

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