Fetal exposure to intrauterine inflammation (IUI) affects brain development. Using intrauterine lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration to induce a localized, rather than a systemic, inflammation, we have previously shown that IUI increases cytokine expression and microglia number, and reduces white matter in the brains of exposed offspring. Clinical data suggest that IUI may increase the risk for cognitive and neurodevelopmental disorders, however, IUI is often found in the context of preterm birth, making it difficult to disentangle the adverse effects of inflammation from those related to prematurity. Therefore, using a mouse model of IUI that does not involve preterm birth, operant tasks were used to evaluate motivation, attention, impulsivity, and locomotion. IUI-exposed offspring were found to have increased locomotion and increased motivation (females only), and testing in the 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) showed that IUI-exposed offspring performed more trials and could respond accurately at a shorter stimulus length. We have previously shown that IUI animals have a potentiated cytokine response to a “second hit” (acute LPS injection) in adulthood, so animals’ performance in the 5CSRTT was evaluated following an acute injection of LPS. As opposed to the improved performance observed under baseline conditions, IUI exposed animals demonstrated a greater decrease in performance after an acute LPS administration. To identify putative molecular mechanisms underlying this potentiated decline in cognitive performance, PFC samples were collected immediately after post-LPS cognitive testing and targeted gene expression analysis was correlated with specific measures of cognitive performance. Three receptors important for neuron-microglia crosstalk were found to correlate with task performance in the males following acute LPS administration. These data demonstrate that early life exposure to localized inflammation of the uterus, in the absence of prematurity, increases locomotor activity and improves some aspects of cognitive performance, but drives a vulnerability for adult cognitive performance deficits in response to acute infection.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural