Anatomy and Cell Biology Publications

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Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health



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Maternal immune activation (MIA) in response to infection during pregnancy has been linked through various epidemiological and preclinical studies to an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia in exposed offspring. Sensory filtering disruptions occur in both of these disorders and are typically measured using the acoustic startle response in both humans and rodents. Our study focuses on characterizing the baseline reactivity, habituation and prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response following exposure to MIA. We induced MIA using polyinosinic: polycytidylic acid (poly I:C) at gestational day (GD) 9.5 or 14.5, and we tested sensory filtering phenotypes in adolescent and adult offspring. Our results show that startle reactivity was robustly increased in adult GD9.5 but not GD14.5 poly I:C offspring. In contrast to some previous studies, we found no consistent changes in short-term habituation, long-term habituation or prepulse inhibition of startle. Our study highlights the importance of MIA exposure timing and discusses sensory filtering phenotypes as they relate to ASD, schizophrenia and the poly I:C MIA model. Moreover, we analyze and discuss the potential impact of between- and within-litter variability on behavioural findings in poly I:C studies.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.