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Brain Behav Immun. 1997 Jun;11(2):107-18.

Differential effects of lipopolysaccharide on pup retrieving and nest building in lactating mice.

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Domaine de Carreire, INRA-INSERM U394, Rue Camille Saint-Saƫns, Bordeaux Cedex, 33077, France.


Behavioral symptoms of sickness that develop in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and proinflammatory cytokines include depressed locomotion, anorexia, and reduced social activities. The way maternal behavior is affected in response to cytokines has, however, not yet been investigated. We checked that lactating mice are sensitive to LPS by showing that LPS- (400 microg/kg, ip) injected mice ate and drank less than saline-injected mothers and displayed a decreased rectal temperature. At an ambient temperature of 22 degrees C, nest building was significantly decreased in LPS-treated mothers compared to saline-treated animals, whereas pup retrieving, while slower, was still present and globally as efficient as for saline-treated mice. In a second experiment, dams were either injected with physiological saline or LPS but were also exposed to a cold ambient temperature (6 degrees C) or kept in standard external condition (22 degrees C). LPS-treated mice exposed to cold expressed not only pup-retrieving but also nest-building activity. These differential results indicate that the behavioral expression of LPS-induced sickness depends on the priority of the behavior under consideration.

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