Impact of maternal immune activation on maternal care behavior, offspring emotionality and intergenerational transmission in C3H/He mice

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Abstract

Maternal immune activation (MIA) is a well-established model for the investigation of the deleterious effects of gestational infection on offspring mental health later in life. Hence, MIA represents a critical environmental variable determining brain development and the depending neural and behavioral functions in the progeny. Transgenerational transmission of some of the effects of MIA has been recently reported using the Polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (Poly (I:C)) MIA model in C57BL/6 (C57) inbred mice. However, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms and the possible relevance of the specific genetic make-up of the inbred mouse strain used. Here we set out to characterize the effects of gestational Poly (I:C) treatment in C3H/HeNCrl mice (C3H), focusing on maternal care and offspring depression-like behavior and its intergenerational potential. miRNA expression in the offspring hippocampus in the F1 and F2 generations was examined as possible mechanism contributing to the observed behavioral effects. The impact of MIA on maternal care and its transmission to F1 females was previously observed in C57 mice was also found in C3H mice. Depression-like behavior in the adult offspring in C3H F1 and F2 females differed from reports of the C57 strain in the literature, suggesting a potential modulating role of the genetic background in the Poly(I:C) MIA mouse model. As the pattern of expression of selected candidate miRNAs in the F1 and F2 offspring hippocampus was not conserved between the two generations, it is unlikely to be a direct consequence of altered maternal care, or to be an immediate determinant of offspring emotionality.

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Berger, S., Ronovsky, M., Horvath, O., Berger, A., & Pollak, D. D. (2018). Impact of maternal immune activation on maternal care behavior, offspring emotionality and intergenerational transmission in C3H/He mice. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 70, 131–140. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2018.02.008

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