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Horm Behav. 2011 Sep;60(4):318-26. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.06.005. Epub 2011 Jun 22.

Long-term alteration of anxiolytic effects of ovarian hormones in female mice by a peripubertal immune challenge.

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University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Center for Neuroendocrine Studies, Tobin Hall, 135 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


Recent reports indicate that exposure to some stressors, such as shipping or immune challenge with the bacterial endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), during the peripubertal period reduces sexual receptivity in response to ovarian hormones in adulthood. We hypothesized that a peripubertal immune challenge would also disrupt the response of a non-reproductive behavior, anxiety-like behavior, to ovarian hormones in adulthood. Female C57Bl/6 mice were injected with LPS during the peripubertal period and tested for anxiety-like behavior in adulthood, following ovariectomy and ovarian hormone treatment. Treatment with estradiol followed by progesterone reduced anxiety-like behavior in control, but not LPS-treated females. We next determined if the disruptive effect of LPS on adult behavior were limited to the peripubertal period by treating mice with LPS either during this period or in adulthood. LPS treatment during the peripubertal period disrupted the anxiolytic effect of ovarian hormones, whereas treatment in adulthood did not. We further tested if this model of peripubertal immune challenge was applicable to an outbred strain of mice (CD-1). Similar to C57Bl/6 mice, LPS treatment during the peripubertal period, but not later, disrupted the anxiolytic effect of estradiol and progesterone. These data suggest that a peripubertal immune challenge disrupts the regulation of anxiety-like behavior by ovarian hormones in a manner that persists at least for weeks after the termination of the immune challenge.

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