1J. Neurosci. 2007 Oct 27: 10695-702
TitleMaternal immune activation alters fetal brain development through interleukin-6.
Abstractschizophrenia and autism are thought to result from the interaction between a susceptibility genotype and environmental risk factors. The offspring of women who experience infection while pregnant have an increased risk for these disorders. Maternal immune activation (MIA) in pregnant rodents produces offspring with abnormalities in behavior, histology, and gene expression that are reminiscent of schizophrenia and autism, making MIA a useful model of the disorders. However, the mechanism by which MIA causes long-term behavioral deficits in the offspring is unknown. Here we show that the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is critical for mediating the behavioral and transcriptional changes in the offspring. A single maternal injection of IL-6 on day 12.5 of mouse pregnancy causes prepulse inhibition (PPI) and latent inhibition (LI) deficits in the adult offspring. Moreover, coadministration of an anti-IL-6 antibody in the poly(I:C) model of MIA prevents the PPI, LI, and exploratory and social deficits caused by poly(I:C) and normalizes the associated changes in gene expression in the brains of adult offspring. Finally, MIA in IL-6 knock-out mice does not result in several of the behavioral changes seen in the offspring of wild-type mice after MIA. The identification of IL-6 as a key intermediary should aid in the molecular dissection of the pathways whereby MIA alters fetal brain development, which can shed new light on the pathophysiological mechanisms that predispose to schizophrenia and autism.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
2Behav. Brain Res. 2008 Jun 190: 156-9
TitleImmune activation during mid-gestation disrupts sensorimotor gating in rat offspring.
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) is a newly developed animal model of schizophrenia. It has recently been reported that when MIA is induced with the cytokine inducer polyinosinic-polycytidilic acid (poly I:C) rats do not show deficits in prepulse inhibition (PPI), a test that is often considered a validity benchmark. The aim of the current experiment was to determine whether doses of poly I:C that have previously been shown to induce the behavioural features of schizophrenia can disrupt PPI in rats. Pregnant rat dams were given a single injection of poly I:C (4.0 mg/kg) or a saline injection equivalent on gestational day 15. Acoustic startle reactivity, habituation of the startle response and PPI were assessed in juvenile (34-35 day) and adult (>56 day) offspring. Prenatal immune activation did not alter startle reactivity on startle-only or prepulse-only trials. Furthermore, there was no effect of MIA on habituation of the startle response. MIA does however disrupt PPI, as PPI was reduced significantly in adult MIA offspring, and a trend was observed in the juvenile animals. Our finding that prenatal poly I:C can disrupt PPI in MIA rats further validates this procedure as an animal model.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
3PLoS ONE 2009 -1 4: e6354
TitlePrenatal immune challenge is an environmental risk factor for brain and behavior change relevant to schizophrenia: evidence from MRI in a mouse model.
AbstractMaternal infection during pregnancy increases risk of severe neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and autism, in the offspring. The most consistent brain structural abnormality in patients with schizophrenia is enlarged lateral ventricles. However, it is unknown whether the aetiology of ventriculomegaly in schizophrenia involves prenatal infectious processes. The present experiments tested the hypothesis that there is a causal relationship between prenatal immune challenge and emergence of ventricular abnormalities relevant to schizophrenia in adulthood.
We used an established mouse model of maternal immune activation (MIA) by the viral mimic PolyI:C administered in early (day 9) or late (day 17) gestation. Automated voxel-based morphometry mapped cerebrospinal fluid across the whole brain of adult offspring and the results were validated by manual region-of-interest tracing of the lateral ventricles. Parallel behavioral testing determined the existence of schizophrenia-related sensorimotor gating abnormalities.
PolyI:C-induced immune activation, in early but not late gestation, caused marked enlargement of lateral ventricles in adulthood, without affecting total white and grey matter volumes. This early exposure disrupted sensorimotor gating, in the form of prepulse inhibition. Identical immune challenge in late gestation resulted in significant expansion of 4(th) ventricle volume but did not disrupt sensorimotor gating.
Our results provide the first experimental evidence that prenatal immune activation is an environmental risk factor for adult ventricular enlargement relevant to schizophrenia. The data indicate immune-associated environmental insults targeting early foetal development may have more extensive neurodevelopmental impact than identical insults in late prenatal life.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
4Brain Behav. Immun. 2010 Aug 24: 930-41
TitleMaternal immune activation alters nonspatial information processing in the hippocampus of the adult offspring.
AbstractThe observation that maternal infection increases the risk for schizophrenia in the offspring suggests that the maternal immune system plays a key role in the etiology of schizophrenia. In a mouse model, maternal immune activation (MIA) by injection of poly(I:C) yields adult offspring that display abnormalities in a variety of behaviors relevant to schizophrenia. As abnormalities in the hippocampus are a consistent observation in schizophrenia patients, we examined synaptic properties in hippocampal slices prepared from the offspring of poly(I:C)- and saline-treated mothers. Compared to controls, CA1 pyramidal neurons from adult offspring of MIA mothers display reduced frequency and increased amplitude of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents. In addition, the specific component of the temporoammonic pathway that mediates object-related information displays increased sensitivity to dopamine. To assess hippocampal network function in vivo, we used expression of the immediate-early gene, c-Fos, as a surrogate measure of neuronal activity. Compared to controls, the offspring of poly(I:C)-treated mothers display a distinct c-Fos expression pattern in area CA1 following novel object, but not novel location, exposure. Thus, the offspring of MIA mothers may have an abnormality in modality-specific information processing. Indeed, the MIA offspring display enhanced discrimination in a novel object recognition, but not in an object location, task. Thus, analysis of object and spatial information processing at both synaptic and behavioral levels reveals a largely selective abnormality in object information processing in this mouse model. Our results suggest that altered processing of object-related information may be part of the pathogenesis of schizophrenia-like cognitive behaviors.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
5Behav. Brain Res. 2010 Dec 213: 323-7
TitleThe maternal immune activation (MIA) model of schizophrenia produces pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) deficits in both juvenile and adult rats but these effects are not associated with maternal weight loss.
AbstractThe developmental onset of deficits in sensorimotor-gating was examined in the maternal immune activation (MIA) animal model of schizophrenia. Pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) deficits were evident in juvenile MIA rats. This parallels the sensorimotor-gating deficits observed in groups at high-risk of schizophrenia. PPI deficits were independent of maternal weight loss following the MIA manipulation, suggesting that this measure may not be a useful marker of treatment efficacy.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
6J. Neurosci. 2010 Sep 30: 12424-31
TitleAbnormal long-range neural synchrony in a maternal immune activation animal model of schizophrenia.
AbstractThe synchrony of neural firing is believed to underlie the integration of information between and within neural networks in the brain. Abnormal synchronization of neural activity between distal brain regions has been proposed to underlie the core symptomatology in schizophrenia. This study investigated whether abnormal synchronization occurs between the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the hippocampus (HPC), two brain regions implicated in schizophrenia pathophysiology, using the maternal immune activation (MIA) animal model in rats. This neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia is induced through a single injection of the synthetic immune system activator polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid, a synthetic analog of double-stranded RNA, a molecular pattern associated with viral infection, in pregnant rat dams. It is based on epidemiological evidence of increased risk of schizophrenia in adulthood after prenatal exposure to infection. In the present study, EEG coherence and neuronal phase-locking to underlying EEG were measured in freely moving MIA and control offspring. The MIA intervention produced significant reductions in mPFC-HPC EEG coherence that correlated with decreased prepulse inhibition of startle, a measure of sensory gating and a hallmark schizotypal behavioral measure. Furthermore, changes in the synchronization of neuronal firing to the underlying EEG were evident in the theta and low-gamma frequencies. Firing within a putative population of theta-modulated, gamma-entrained mPFC neurons was also reduced in MIA animals. Thus, MIA in rats produces a fundamental disruption in long-range neuronal synchrony in the brains of the adult offspring that models the disruption of synchrony observed in schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
7J. Neurosci. 2010 Sep 30: 12424-31
TitleAbnormal long-range neural synchrony in a maternal immune activation animal model of schizophrenia.
AbstractThe synchrony of neural firing is believed to underlie the integration of information between and within neural networks in the brain. Abnormal synchronization of neural activity between distal brain regions has been proposed to underlie the core symptomatology in schizophrenia. This study investigated whether abnormal synchronization occurs between the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the hippocampus (HPC), two brain regions implicated in schizophrenia pathophysiology, using the maternal immune activation (MIA) animal model in rats. This neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia is induced through a single injection of the synthetic immune system activator polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid, a synthetic analog of double-stranded RNA, a molecular pattern associated with viral infection, in pregnant rat dams. It is based on epidemiological evidence of increased risk of schizophrenia in adulthood after prenatal exposure to infection. In the present study, EEG coherence and neuronal phase-locking to underlying EEG were measured in freely moving MIA and control offspring. The MIA intervention produced significant reductions in mPFC-HPC EEG coherence that correlated with decreased prepulse inhibition of startle, a measure of sensory gating and a hallmark schizotypal behavioral measure. Furthermore, changes in the synchronization of neuronal firing to the underlying EEG were evident in the theta and low-gamma frequencies. Firing within a putative population of theta-modulated, gamma-entrained mPFC neurons was also reduced in MIA animals. Thus, MIA in rats produces a fundamental disruption in long-range neuronal synchrony in the brains of the adult offspring that models the disruption of synchrony observed in schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
8Brain Behav. Immun. 2011 May 25: 604-15
TitleActivation of the maternal immune system induces endocrine changes in the placenta via IL-6.
AbstractActivation of the maternal immune system in rodent models sets in motion a cascade of molecular pathways that ultimately result in autism- and schizophrenia-related behaviors in offspring. The finding that interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a crucial mediator of these effects led us to examine the mechanism by which this cytokine influences fetal development in vivo. Here we focus on the placenta as the site of direct interaction between mother and fetus and as a principal modulator of fetal development. We find that maternal immune activation (MIA) with a viral mimic, synthetic double-stranded RNA (poly(I:C)), increases IL-6 mRNA as well as maternally-derived IL-6 protein in the placenta. Placentas from MIA mothers exhibit increases in CD69+ decidual macrophages, granulocytes and uterine NK cells, indicating elevated early immune activation. Maternally-derived IL-6 mediates activation of the JAK/STAT3 pathway specifically in the spongiotrophoblast layer of the placenta, which results in expression of acute phase genes. Importantly, this parallels an IL-6-dependent disruption of the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor (GH-IGF) axis that is characterized by decreased GH, IGFI and IGFBP3 levels. In addition, we observe an IL-6-dependent induction in pro-lactin-like protein-K (PLP-K) expression as well as MIA-related alterations in other placental endocrine factors. Together, these IL-6-mediated effects of MIA on the placenta represent an indirect mechanism by which MIA can alter fetal development.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
9Behav. Brain Res. 2011 Nov 225: 382-7
TitleBehavioural deficits associated with maternal immune activation in the rat model of schizophrenia.
Abstractschizophrenia is associated with changes in memory and contextual processing. As maternal infection is a risk factor in schizophrenia we tested for these impairments in a maternal immune activation (MIA) animal model. MIA rats displayed impaired object recognition memory, despite intact object discrimination, and a reduced reinstatement of rearing in response to a contextual manipulation. These results link MIA to contextual impairments in schizophrenia, possibly through changes in hippocampal function.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
10Conscious Cogn 2011 Dec 20: 1315-26
TitleMetamemory knowledge and beliefs in patients with schizophrenia and how these relate to objective cognitive abilities.
AbstractSubjective reports and theories about memory may have an influence on other beliefs and behaviours. Patients with schizophrenia suffer a wide range of deficits affecting their awareness of daily life, including memory. With the Metamemory Inventory in Adulthood (MIA) we ascertained patients' memory knowledge and thoughts about their own cognitive capacities and about several aspects of cognitive functioning: personal capacities, knowledge of processes, use of strategies, perceived change with ageing, anxiety, motivation and mastery. The participants' ratings were correlated with their intellectual, cognitive and psychiatric data. Patients felt they had a lower capacity and marginally lower mastery over their memory than comparison subjects. They reported less recourse to strategies, and higher levels of memory-related anxiety. However, their knowledge of basic memory processes, motivation to succeed, and perception of ageing effects were similar. So patients with schizophrenia do not suffer a general and non specific impairment of their metacognitive knowledge.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
11PLoS ONE 2011 -1 6: e16638
TitleFrontal-subcortical protein expression following prenatal exposure to maternal inflammation.
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) during prenatal life is a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders including schizophrenia and autism. Such conditions are associated with alterations in fronto-subcortical circuits, but their molecular basis is far from clear.
Using two-dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and mass spectrometry, with targeted western blot analyses for confirmation, we investigated the impact of MIA on the prefrontal and striatal proteome from an established MIA mouse model generated in C57B6 mice, by administering the viral analogue PolyI:C or saline vehicle (control) intravenously on gestation day (GD) 9. In striatum, 11 proteins were up-regulated and 4 proteins were down-regulated in the PolyI:C mice, while 10 proteins were up-regulated and 7 proteins down-regulated in prefrontal cortex (PFC). These were proteins involved in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway, oxidation and auto-immune targets, including dual specificity mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 (MEK), eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4A-II, creatine kinase (CK)-B, L-lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)-B, WD repeat-containing protein and NADH dehydrogenase in the striatum; and guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G-protein), 14-3-3 protein, alpha-enolase, olfactory maker protein and heat shock proteins (HSP) 60, and 90-beta in the PFC.
This data fits with emerging evidence for disruption of critical converging intracellular pathways involving MAPK pathways in neurodevelopmental conditions and it shows considerable overlap with protein pathways identified by genetic modeling and clinical post-mortem studies. This has implications for understanding causality and may offer potential biomarkers and novel treatment targets for neurodevelopmental conditions.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
12Transl Neurosci 2012 Dec 3: 320-327
AbstractA body of epidemiological literature has suggested an association between prenatal infection, subsequent maternal immune activation (MIA), and later risk of schizophrenia. These epidemiological studies have inspired preclinical research using rodent and primate models of prenatal infection and MIA. The findings from these preclinical studies indicate that severe infection and immune activation during pregnancy can negatively impact offspring brain development and impair adult behavior. This review aims to summarize the major epidemiological and preclinical findings addressing the connection between prenatal infection and immune activation and later risk of developing schizophrenia, as well as the more limited literature addressing the mechanisms by which this gestational insult might affect offspring neurodevelopment. Finally, directions for future research will be discussed.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
13J. Leukoc. Biol. 2012 Nov 92: 959-75
TitleThe immune theory of psychiatric diseases: a key role for activated microglia and circulating monocytes.
AbstractThis review describes a key role for mononuclear phagocytes in the pathogenesis of major psychiatric disorders. There is accumulating evidence for activation of microglia (histopathology and PET scans) and circulating monocytes (enhanced gene expression of immune genes, an overproduction of monocyte/macrophage-related cytokines) in patients with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. These data are strengthened by observations in animal models, such as the MIA models, the chronic stress models, and the NOD mouse model. In these animal models of depressive-, anxiety-, and schizophrenia-like behavior, similar activations of microglia and circulating monocytes can be found. These animal models also make in-depth pathogenic studies possible and show that microglia activation impacts neuronal development and function in brain areas congruent with the altered depressive and schizophrenia-like behaviors.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
14Transl Psychiatry 2012 -1 2: e98
TitleEffects of maternal immune activation on gene expression patterns in the fetal brain.
AbstractWe are exploring the mechanisms underlying how maternal infection increases the risk for schizophrenia and autism in the offspring. Several mouse models of maternal immune activation (MIA) were used to examine the immediate effects of MIA induced by influenza virus, poly(I:C) and interleukin IL-6 on the fetal brain transcriptome. Our results indicate that all three MIA treatments lead to strong and common gene expression changes in the embryonic brain. Most notably, there is an acute and transient upregulation of the ?, ? and ? crystallin gene family. Furthermore, levels of crystallin gene expression are correlated with the severity of MIA as assessed by placental weight. The overall gene expression changes suggest that the response to MIA is a neuroprotective attempt by the developing brain to counteract environmental stress, but at a cost of disrupting typical neuronal differentiation and axonal growth. We propose that this cascade of events might parallel the mechanisms by which environmental insults contribute to the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
15Schizophr. Res. 2012 Mar 135: 112-5
TitleClozapine administration ameliorates disrupted long-range synchrony in a neurodevelopmental animal model of schizophrenia.
AbstractThe abnormal synchronisation of neural networks may underlie some of the deficits observed in schizophrenia. Abnormal synchronisation can be induced in animal models. We investigated whether acute clozapine treatment might function therapeutically by ameliorating the deficit in theta frequency coherence between the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus that is induced in rats exposed to maternal immune activation (MIA)--a risk-factor for schizophrenia. Clozapine treatment increased synchrony levels to that of control animals in a dose-dependent manner. Clozapine's effect on synchrony may in part be mediated through increases in local synchrony that occurred in prefrontal cortex but not hippocampus.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
16J Psychiatr Res 2012 Sep 46: 1199-205
TitleIncreased affective ultrasonic communication during fear learning in adult male rats exposed to maternal immune activation.
AbstractMaternal exposure to infection during pregnancy greatly increases the risk of psychopathology in the offspring. In support of clinical findings, rodent models of maternal immune activation (MIA) show that prenatal exposure to pathogens can induce phenotypic changes in the offspring associated with schizophrenia, autism, depression and anxiety. In the current study, we investigated the effects of MIA via polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C) on emotional behavior and communication in rats. Pregnant rats were administered poly I:C or saline on gestation day 15 and male offspring were tested in an auditory fear conditioning paradigm in early adulthood. We found that prenatal poly I:C exposure significantly altered affective signaling, namely, the production of aversive 22-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), in terms of call number, structure and temporal patterning. MIA led to an increase in aversive 22-kHz USVs to 300% of saline controls. Offspring exposed to MIA not only emitted more 22-kHz USVs, but also emitted calls that were shorter in duration and occurred in bouts containing more calls. The production of appetitive 50-kHz USVs and audible calls was not affected. Intriguingly, alterations in aversive 22-kHz USV emission were observed despite no obvious changes in overt defensive behavior, which highlights the importance of assessing USVs as an additional measure of fear. Aversive 22-kHz USVs are a prominent part of the rat's defensive behavioral repertoire and serve important communicative functions, most notably as alarm calls. The observed changes in aversive 22-kHz USVs show that MIA has long-term effects on emotional behavior and communication in exposed rat offspring.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
17Brain Behav. Immun. 2012 May 26: 623-34
TitleMaternal immune activation by LPS selectively alters specific gene expression profiles of interneuron migration and oxidative stress in the fetus without triggering a fetal immune response.
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) is a risk factor for the development of schizophrenia and autism. Infections during pregnancy activate the mother's immune system and alter the fetal environment, with consequential effects on CNS function and behavior in the offspring, but the cellular and molecular links between infection-induced altered fetal development and risk for neuropsychiatric disorders are unknown. We investigated the immunological, molecular, and behavioral effects of MIA in the offspring of pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats given an intraperitoneal (0.25 mg/kg) injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on gestational day 15. LPS significantly elevated pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in maternal serum, amniotic fluid, and fetal brain at 4 h, and levels decreased but remained elevated at 24 h. Offspring born to LPS-treated dams exhibited reduced social preference and exploration behaviors as juveniles and young adults. Whole genome microarray analysis of the fetal brain at 4 h post maternal LPS was performed to elucidate the possible molecular mechanisms by which MIA affects the fetal brain. We observed dysregulation of 3285 genes in restricted functional categories, with increased mRNA expression of cellular stress and cell death genes and reduced expression of developmentally-regulated and brain-specific genes, specifically those that regulate neuronal migration of GABAergic interneurons, including the Distal-less (Dlx) family of transcription factors required for tangential migration from progenitor pools within the ganglionic eminences into the cerebral cortex. Our results provide a novel mechanism by which MIA induces the widespread down-regulation of critical neurodevelopmental genes, including those previously associated with autism.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
18Schizophr. Res. 2013 Aug 148: 151-6
TitleAltered arginine metabolism in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of maternal immune activation rat offspring.
AbstractAltered arginine metabolism has been implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The present study measured the levels of L-arginine and its downstream metabolites in the sub-regions of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and cerebellum in adult rats that had been exposed to maternal immune activation (MIA; a risk factor for schizophrenia). MIA significantly increased L-arginine, L-ornithine and putrescine levels and decreased agmatine levels in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in a region-specific manner. Correlational analysis revealed a significant neurochemical-behavioural correlation. Cluster analyses showed that L-arginine and its main metabolites formed distinct groups, which changed as a function of MIA. These results demonstrate, for the first time, that MIA leads to altered arginine metabolism in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of the adult offspring.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
19Hippocampus 2013 Dec 23: 1395-409
TitleEnhanced hippocampal neuronal excitability and LTP persistence associated with reduced behavioral flexibility in the maternal immune activation model of schizophrenia.
AbstractIndividuals with schizophrenia display a number of structural and cytoarchitectural alterations in the hippocampus, suggesting that other functions such as synaptic plasticity may also be modified. Altered hippocampal plasticity is likely to affect memory processing, and therefore any such pathology may contribute to the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, which includes prominent memory impairment. The current study tested whether prenatal exposure to infection, an environmental risk factor that has previously been associated with schizophrenia produced changes in hippocampal synaptic transmission or plasticity, using the maternal immune activation (MIA) animal model. We also assessed performance in hippocampus-dependent memory tasks to determine whether altered plasticity is associated with memory dysfunction. MIA did not alter basal synaptic transmission in either the dentate gyrus or CA1 of freely moving adult rats. It did, however, result in increased paired-pulse facilitation of the dentate gyrus population spike and an enhanced persistence of dentate long-term potentiation. MIA animals displayed slower learning of a reversed platform location in the water maze, and a similarly slowed learning during reversal in a spatial plus maze task. Together these findings are indicative of reduced behavioral flexibility in response to changes in task requirements. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that hippocampal plasticity is altered in schizophrenia, and that this change in plasticity mechanisms may underlie some aspects of cognitive dysfunction in this disorder.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
20J. Neurosci. 2013 Aug 33: 13791-804
TitleMHCI requires MEF2 transcription factors to negatively regulate synapse density during development and in disease.
AbstractMajor histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) molecules negatively regulate cortical connections and are implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. However, the mechanisms that mediate these effects are unknown. Here, we report a novel MHCI signaling pathway that requires the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factors. In young rat cortical neurons, MHCI regulates MEF2 in an activity-dependent manner and requires calcineurin-mediated activation of MEF2 to limit synapse density. Manipulating MEF2 alone alters synaptic strength and GluA1 content, but not synapse density, implicating activity-dependent MEF2 activation as critical for MHCI signaling. The MHCI-MEF2 pathway identified here also mediates the effects of a mouse model of maternal immune activation (MIA) on connectivity in offspring. MHCI and MEF2 levels are higher, and synapse density is lower, on neurons from MIA offspring. Most important, dysregulation of MHCI and MEF2 is required for the MIA-induced reduction in neural connectivity. These results identify a previously unknown MHCI-calcineurin-MEF2 signaling pathway that regulates the establishment of cortical connections and mediates synaptic defects caused by MIA, a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
21Mediators Inflamm. 2013 -1 2013: 609602
TitleGestational exposure to a viral mimetic poly(i:C) results in long-lasting changes in mitochondrial function by leucocytes in the adult offspring.
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) is a potential risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SZ). In rodents, MIA results in changes in cytokine profiles and abnormal behaviors in the offspring that model these neuropsychiatric conditions. Given the central role that mitochondria have in immunity and other metabolic pathways, we hypothesized that MIA will result in a fetal imprinting that leads to postnatal deficits in the bioenergetics of immune cells. To this end, splenocytes from adult offspring exposed gestationally to the viral mimic poly(I:C) were evaluated for mitochondrial outcomes. A significant decrease in mitochondrial ATP production was observed in poly(I:C)-treated mice (45% of controls) mainly attributed to a lower complex I activity. No differences were observed between the two groups in the coupling of electron transport to ATP synthesis, or the oxygen uptake under uncoupling conditions. Concanavalin A- (ConA-) stimulated splenocytes from poly(I:C) animals showed no statistically significant changes in cytokine levels compared to controls. The present study reports for the first time that MIA activation by poly(I:C) at early gestation, which can lead to behavioral impairments in the offspring similar to SZ and ASD, leads to long-lasting effects in the bioenergetics of splenocytes of adult offspring.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
22Schizophr. Res. 2013 Dec 151: 1-11
TitleEffects of maternal immune activation on adult neurogenesis in the subventricular zone-olfactory bulb pathway and olfactory discrimination.
AbstractMaternal infection and maternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy increase risks for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. Many deficits related to psychiatric disorders are observed in adult offspring of MIA animal models, including behavioral abnormalities, morphological defects in various brain regions, and dysregulation of neurotransmitter systems. It has previously been shown that MIA impairs adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. In this study, we examined whether MIA affects adult neurogenesis in the subventricular zone (SVZ)-olfactory bulb (OB) pathway. Polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (PolyI:C), a synthetic analog of double-stranded RNA mimicking viral infection, was injected into pregnant mice on gestation day 9.5 to activate immune systems. In the SVZ-OB pathway of adult offspring, different cell types of the neural stem cell lineage responded differently to MIA. Neural stem cells and neuroblasts were decreased. Cell proliferation of transit-amplifying cells was impaired. Consequently, newborn neurons were reduced in the OB. Olfactory deficiency has been suggested as a biomarker for schizophrenia. Here we found that olfactory discrimination was compromised in adult MIA offspring. Taken together, these findings show that MIA leads to defective adult neurogenesis in the SVZ-OB pathway, and the impairment of adult neurogenesis may lead to deficits in olfactory functions.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
23J. Neurosci. 2013 May 33: 7654-66
TitleMaternal immune activation during gestation interacts with Disc1 point mutation to exacerbate schizophrenia-related behaviors in mice.
Abstractschizophrenia is thought to result from interactions between susceptible genotypes and environmental risk factors. DISC1 is an important gene for schizophrenia and mood disorders based on both human and animal studies. In the present study we sought to investigate interactions between two distinct point mutations in the mouse Disc1 gene (L100P and Q31L) and maternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy with polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (polyI:C). PolyI:C given at 5 mg/kg impaired cognitive and social behavior in both wild-type (WT) and Disc1-Q31L(+/-) offspring, and reduced prepulse inhibition at 16 but not 8 weeks of age. Disc1-L100P(+/-) mutants were more sensitive to MIA than WT or Disc1-Q31L(+/-) mice. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a critical cytokine for mediating the behavioral and transcriptional effects of polyI:C. We found a more pronounced increase of IL-6 in response to polyI:C in fetal brain in Disc1-L100P(+/-) mice compared with WT or Disc1-Q31L(+/-) mice. Coadministration of an anti-IL-6 antibody with polyI:C reversed schizophrenia-related behavioral phenotypes in Disc1-L100P(+/-) mice. In summary, we found specific interactions between discrete genetic (Disc1-L100P(+/-)) and environmental factors (MIA) that exacerbate schizophrenia-related phenotypes. IL-6 may be important in the pathophysiology of this interaction.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
24Brain Behav. Immun. 2013 Jul 31: 54-68
TitleMaternal immune activation causes age- and region-specific changes in brain cytokines in offspring throughout development.
AbstractMaternal infection is a risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SZ). Indeed, modeling this risk factor in mice through maternal immune activation (MIA) causes ASD- and SZ-like neuropathologies and behaviors in the offspring. Although MIA upregulates pro-inflammatory cytokines in the fetal brain, whether MIA leads to long-lasting changes in brain cytokines during postnatal development remains unknown. Here, we tested this possibility by measuring protein levels of 23 cytokines in the blood and three brain regions from offspring of poly(I:C)- and saline-injected mice at five postnatal ages using multiplex arrays. Most cytokines examined are present in sera and brains throughout development. MIA induces changes in the levels of many cytokines in the brains and sera of offspring in a region- and age-specific manner. These MIA-induced changes follow a few, unexpected and distinct patterns. In frontal and cingulate cortices, several, mostly pro-inflammatory, cytokines are elevated at birth, followed by decreases during periods of synaptogenesis and plasticity, and increases again in the adult. Cytokines are also altered in postnatal hippocampus, but in a pattern distinct from the other regions. The MIA-induced changes in brain cytokines do not correlate with changes in serum cytokines from the same animals. Finally, these MIA-induced cytokine changes are not accompanied by breaches in the blood-brain barrier, immune cell infiltration or increases in microglial density. Together, these data indicate that MIA leads to long-lasting, region-specific changes in brain cytokines in offspring-similar to those reported for ASD and SZ-that may alter CNS development and behavior.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
25Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 2013 Jul 44: 301-11
TitleThe TRIPS (Toll-like receptors in immuno-inflammatory pathogenesis) Hypothesis: a novel postulate to understand schizophrenia.
AbstractMounting evidence indicates that immune activation and/or immuno-inflammatory reactions during neurodevelopment apparently contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of schizophrenia. One of the important environmental factors that is known to trigger immune activation/inflammatory responses during early pregnancy is prenatal infection. Recent understanding from animal studies suggests that prenatal infection induced maternal immune activation (MIA)/inflammation in congruence with oxidative/nitrosative stress can lead to neurodevelopmental damage and behavioral abnormalities in the offspring. Although the underlying precise mechanistic processes of MIA/inflammation are yet to be completely elucidated, it is being increasingly recognized that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) that form the first line of defense against invading microorganisms could participate in the prenatal infection induced immune insults. Interestingly, some of the TLRs, especially TLR3 and TLR4 that modulate neurodevelopment, neuronal survival and neuronal plasticity by regulating the neuro-immune cross-talk in the developing and adult brain could also be affected by prenatal infection. Importantly, sustained activation of TLR3/TLR4 due to environmental factors including infection and stress has been found to generate excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS)/reactive nitrogen species (RNS) as well as pro-inflammatory mediators during embryogenesis, which result into neuronal damage by necrosis/apoptosis. In recent times, ROS/RNS and immuno-inflammatory mediators are being increasingly linked to progressive brain changes in schizophrenia. Although a significant role of TLR3/TLR4 in neurodegeneration is gaining certainty, their importance in establishing a causal link between prenatal infection and immuno-inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress (IO&NS) responses and influence on adult presentation of schizophrenia is yet to be ascertained. We review here the current knowledge generated from the animal and human studies on the role of TLRs in schizophrenia and finally propose the "TRIPS Hypothesis" (Toll-like receptors in immuno-inflammatory pathogenesis) to elucidate the underlying mechanism(s) of TLR-mediated risk of schizophrenia. Considering the established role of TLR3 and TLR4 in antiviral and antibacterial responses respectively, we believe that in some cases of schizophrenia where IO&NS responses are evident, prenatal infection might lead to neuroprogressive changes in a TLR3/TLR4-dependent way.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
26Front Behav Neurosci 2013 -1 7: 217
TitleAberrant neural synchrony in the maternal immune activation model: using translatable measures to explore targeted interventions.
AbstractMaternal exposure to infection occurring mid-gestation produces a three-fold increase in the risk of schizophrenia in the offspring. The critical initiating factor appears to be the maternal immune activation (MIA) that follows infection. This process can be induced in rodents by exposure of pregnant dams to the viral mimic Poly I:C, which triggers an immune response that results in structural, functional, behavioral, and electrophysiological phenotypes in the adult offspring that model those seen in schizophrenia. We used this model to explore the role of synchronization in brain neural networks, a process thought to be dysfunctional in schizophrenia and previously associated with positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. Exposure of pregnant dams to Poly I:C on GD15 produced an impairment in long-range neural synchrony in adult offspring between two regions implicated in schizophrenia pathology; the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). This reduction in synchrony was ameliorated by acute doses of the antipsychotic clozapine. MIA animals have previously been shown to have impaired pre-pulse inhibition (PPI), a gold-standard measure of schizophrenia-like deficits in animal models. Our data showed that deficits in synchrony were positively correlated with the impairments in PPI. Subsequent analysis of LFP activity during the PPI response also showed that reduced coupling between the mPFC and the hippocampus following processing of the pre-pulse was associated with reduced PPI. The ability of the MIA intervention to model neurodevelopmental aspects of schizophrenia pathology provides a useful platform from which to investigate the ontogeny of aberrant synchronous processes. Further, the way in which the model expresses translatable deficits such as aberrant synchrony and reduced PPI will allow researchers to explore novel intervention strategies targeted to these changes.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
27Transl Psychiatry 2014 -1 4: e363
TitleLong-term effects of maternal immune activation on depression-like behavior in the mouse.
AbstractDepression is a debilitating mental disease affecting a large population worldwide, the pathophysiological mechanisms of which remain incompletely understood. Prenatal infection and associated activation of the maternal immune system (MIA) are prominently related to an increased risk for the development of several psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and autism in the offsprings. However, the role of MIA in the etiology of depression and its neurobiological basis are insufficiently investigated. Here we induced MIA in mice by challenge with polyinosinic:polycytidylic phosphate salt-a synthetic analog of double-stranded RNA, which enhances maternal levels of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6)-and demonstrate a depression-like behavioral phenotype in adult offsprings. Adult offsprings additionally show deficits in cognition and hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) accompanied by disturbed proliferation of newborn cells in the dentate gyrus and compromised neuronal maturation and survival. The behavioral, neurogenic and functional deficiencies observed are associated with reduced hippocampal expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)A-VEGFR2. IL-6-STAT3-dependent aberrant VEGFA-VEGFR2 signaling is proposed as neurobiological mechanism mediating the effects of MIA on the developing fetal brain and ensuing consequences in adulthood.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
28Behav. Brain Res. 2014 Jan 258: 179-86
TitleHypolocomotive behaviour associated with increased microglia in a prenatal immune activation model with relevance to schizophrenia.
AbstractOver the past decade a neurodevelopmental animal model with high validity for schizophrenia has been developed based on the environmental risk factor known as maternal immune activation (MIA). The immunological basis of this model, together with extensive data from clinical and preclinical context, suggests the involvement of an aberrant neuro-immune system in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The goal of this study was to examine microglia activation in adult behaviourally phenotyped MIA offspring. MIA was induced in pregnant rats using viral mimetic Poly I:C at gestational day 15. Adult offspring were behaviourally phenotyped at postnatal days (PND) 56, 90 and 180 through the evaluation of prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle and spontaneous locomotion. Finally, the presence of activated microglia in brain regions associated with schizophrenia was evaluated using post-mortem immunohistochemistry against OX-42 (CD11b) and ED-1 (CD68). Although a deficit in PPI could not be replicated despite the high number of animals tested, we found an overall decrease in basal startle response and spontaneous locomotion in offspring born to Poly I:C- compared to saline-treated dams, accompanied by increased microglial density with characteristics of non-reactive activation in the chronic stage of the model. These findings provide additional evidence for a role played by microglial activation in schizophrenia-related pathology in general and psychomotor slowing in particular, and warrant extensive research on the underlying mechanism in order to establish new drug targets for the treatment of schizophrenia patients with an inflammatory component.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
29Nat Rev Neurol 2014 Nov 10: 643-60
TitleMaternal immune activation and abnormal brain development across CNS disorders.
AbstractEpidemiological studies have shown a clear association between maternal infection and schizophrenia or autism in the progeny. Animal models have revealed maternal immune activation (MIA) to be a profound risk factor for neurochemical and behavioural abnormalities in the offspring. Microglial priming has been proposed as a major consequence of MIA, and represents a critical link in a causal chain that leads to the wide spectrum of neuronal dysfunctions and behavioural phenotypes observed in the juvenile, adult or aged offspring. Such diversity of phenotypic outcomes in the MIA model are mirrored by recent clinical evidence suggesting that infectious exposure during pregnancy is also associated with epilepsy and, to a lesser extent, cerebral palsy in children. Preclinical research also suggests that MIA might precipitate the development of Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Here, we summarize and critically review the emerging evidence that MIA is a shared environmental risk factor across CNS disorders that varies as a function of interactions between genetic and additional environmental factors. We also review ongoing clinical trials targeting immune pathways affected by MIA that may play a part in disease manifestation. In addition, future directions and outstanding questions are discussed, including potential symptomatic, disease-modifying and preventive treatment strategies.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
30Transl Psychiatry 2014 -1 4: e452
TitleAlteration of imprinted Dlk1-Dio3 miRNA cluster expression in the entorhinal cortex induced by maternal immune activation and adolescent cannabinoid exposure.
AbstractA significant feature of the cortical neuropathology of schizophrenia is a disturbance in the biogenesis of short non-coding microRNA (miRNA) that regulate translation and stability of mRNA. While the biological origin of this phenomenon has not been defined, it is plausible that it relates to major environmental risk factors associated with the disorder such as exposure to maternal immune activation (MIA) and adolescent cannabis use. To explore this hypothesis, we administered the viral mimic poly I:C to pregnant rats and further exposed some of their maturing offsprings to daily injections of the synthetic cannabinoid HU210 for 14 days starting on postnatal day 35. Whole-genome miRNA expression analysis was then performed on the left and right hemispheres of the entorhinal cortex (EC), a region strongly associated with schizophrenia. Animals exposed to either treatment alone or in combination exhibited significant differences in the expression of miRNA in the left hemisphere, whereas the right hemisphere was less responsive. Hemisphere-associated differences in miRNA expression were greatest in the combined treatment and highly over-represented in a single imprinted locus on chromosome 6q32. This observation was significant as the syntenic 14q32 locus in humans encodes a large proportion of miRNAs differentially expressed in peripheral blood lymphocytes from patients with schizophrenia, suggesting that interaction of early and late environmental insults may affect miRNA expression, in a manner that is relevant to schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
31Transl Psychiatry 2014 -1 4: e400
TitleReversal of autism-like behaviors and metabolism in adult mice with single-dose antipurinergic therapy.
AbstractAutism spectrum disorders (ASDs) now affect 1-2% of the children born in the United States. Hundreds of genetic, metabolic and environmental factors are known to increase the risk of ASD. Similar factors are known to influence the risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; however, a unifying mechanistic explanation has remained elusive. Here we used the maternal immune activation (MIA) mouse model of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders to study the effects of a single dose of the antipurinergic drug suramin on the behavior and metabolism of adult animals. We found that disturbances in social behavior, novelty preference and metabolism are not permanent but are treatable with antipurinergic therapy (APT) in this model of ASD and schizophrenia. A single dose of suramin (20?mg?kg(-1) intraperitoneally (i.p.)) given to 6-month-old adults restored normal social behavior, novelty preference and metabolism. Comprehensive metabolomic analysis identified purine metabolism as the key regulatory pathway. Correction of purine metabolism normalized 17 of 18 metabolic pathways that were disturbed in the MIA model. Two days after treatment, the suramin concentration in the plasma and brainstem was 7.64??M pmol??l(-1) (±0.50) and 5.15?pmol?mg(-1) (±0.49), respectively. These data show good uptake of suramin into the central nervous system at the level of the brainstem. Most of the improvements associated with APT were lost after 5 weeks of drug washout, consistent with the 1-week plasma half-life of suramin in mice. Our results show that purine metabolism is a master regulator of behavior and metabolism in the MIA model, and that single-dose APT with suramin acutely reverses these abnormalities, even in adults.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
32Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2014 Jun 111: E2492-500
TitleManganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging reveals increased DOI-induced brain activity in a mouse model of schizophrenia.
AbstractMaternal infection during pregnancy increases the risk for schizophrenia in offspring. In rodent models, maternal immune activation (MIA) yields offspring with schizophrenia-like behaviors. None of these behaviors are, however, specific to schizophrenia. The presence of hallucinations is a key diagnostic symptom of schizophrenia. In mice, this symptom can be defined as brain activation in the absence of external stimuli, which can be mimicked by administration of hallucinogens. We find that, compared with controls, adult MIA offspring display an increased stereotypical behavioral response to the hallucinogen 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI), an agonist for serotonin receptor 2A (5-HT2AR). This may be explained by increased levels of 5-HT2AR and downstream signaling molecules in unstimulated MIA prefrontal cortex (PFC). Using manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging to identify neuronal activation elicited by DOI administration, we find that, compared with controls, MIA offspring exhibit a greater manganese (Mn(2+)) accumulation in several brain areas, including the PFC, thalamus, and striatum. The parafascicular thalamic nucleus, which plays the role in the pathogenesis of hallucinations, is activated by DOI in MIA offspring only. Additionally, compared with controls, MIA offspring demonstrate higher DOI-induced expression of early growth response protein 1, cyclooxygenase-2, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the PFC. Chronic treatment with the 5-HT2AR antagonist ketanserin reduces DOI-induced head twitching in MIA offspring. Thus, the MIA mouse model can be successfully used to investigate activity induced by DOI in awake, behaving mice. Moreover, manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging is a useful, noninvasive method for accurately measuring this type of activity.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
33PLoS ONE 2014 -1 9: e94968
TitleHeat shock alters the expression of schizophrenia and autism candidate genes in an induced pluripotent stem cell model of the human telencephalon.
Abstractschizophrenia (SZ) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are highly heritable neuropsychiatric disorders, although environmental factors, such as maternal immune activation (MIA), play a role as well. Cytokines mediate the effects of MIA on neurogenesis and behavior in animal models. However, MIA stimulators can also induce a febrile reaction, which could have independent effects on neurogenesis through heat shock (HS)-regulated cellular stress pathways. However, this has not been well-studied. To help understand the role of fever in MIA, we used a recently described model of human brain development in which induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) differentiate into 3-dimensional neuronal aggregates that resemble a first trimester telencephalon. RNA-seq was carried out on aggregates that were heat shocked at 39°C for 24 hours, along with their control partners maintained at 37°C. 186 genes showed significant differences in expression following HS (p<0.05), including known HS-inducible genes, as expected, as well as those coding for NGFR and a number of SZ and ASD candidates, including SMARCA2, DPP10, ARNT2, AHI1 and ZNF804A. The degree to which the expression of these genes decrease or increase during HS is similar to that found in copy loss and copy gain copy number variants (CNVs), although the effects of HS are likely to be transient. The dramatic effect on the expression of some SZ and ASD genes places HS, and perhaps other cellular stressors, into a common conceptual framework with disease-causing genetic variants. The findings also suggest that some candidate genes that are assumed to have a relatively limited impact on SZ and ASD pathogenesis based on a small number of positive genetic findings, such as SMARCA2 and ARNT2, may in fact have a much more substantial role in these disorders - as targets of common environmental stressors.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
34Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2014 Jun 24: 879-89
TitleEvidence that aetiological risk factors for psychiatric disorders cause distinct patterns of cognitive deficits.
Abstractschizophrenia and bipolar disorder are associated with neurocognitive symptoms including deficits in attentional set shifting (changing attentional focus from one perceptual dimension to another) and reversal learning (learning a reversed stimulus/outcome contingency). Maternal infection during gestation and chronically flattened glucocorticoid rhythm are aetiological risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We hypothesised that these factors are causative in the neurocognitive deficits observed in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Here we used maternal immune activation (MIA) as a rat model of maternal infection, and sub-chronic low dose corticosterone treatment as a rat model of flattened glucocorticoid rhythm. For comparison we examined the effects of sub-chronic phencyclidine - a widely used rodent model of schizophrenia pathology. The effects of these three treatments on neurocognition were explored using the attentional set shifting task - a multistage test of executive functions. As expected, phencyclidine treatment selectively impaired set shifting ability. In contrast, MIA caused a marked and selective impairment of reversal learning. Corticosterone treatment impaired reversal learning but in addition also impaired rule abstraction and prevented the animals from forming an attentional set. The reversal learning deficits induced by MIA and corticosterone treatment were due to increases in non-perseverative rather than perseverative errors. Our data indicate that the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may be explained by aetiological factors including maternal infection and glucocorticoid abnormalities and moreover suggest that the particular spectrum of cognitive deficits in individual patients may depend on the specific underlying aetiology of the disorder.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
35Brain Behav. Immun. 2014 Nov 42: 138-46
TitleThe risk for behavioural deficits is determined by the maternal immune response to prenatal immune challenge in a neurodevelopmental model.
Abstractschizophrenia is a highly disabling psychiatric disorder with a proposed neurodevelopmental basis. One mechanism through which genetic and environmental risk factors might act is by triggering persistent brain inflammation, as evidenced by long-lasting neuro-immunological disturbances in patients. Our goal was to investigate whether microglia activation is a neurobiological correlate to the altered behaviour in the maternal immune activation (MIA) model, a well-validated animal model with relevance to schizophrenia. A recent observation in the MIA model is the differential maternal body weight response to the immune stimulus, correlated with a different behavioural outcome in the offspring. Although it is generally assumed that the differences in maternal weight response reflect differences in cytokine response, this has not been investigated so far. Our aim was to investigate whether (i) the maternal weight response to MIA reflects differences in the maternal cytokine response, (ii) the differential behavioural phenotype of the offspring extends to depressive symptoms such as anhedonia and (iii) there are changes in chronic microglia activation dependent on the behavioural phenotype.
Based on a dose-response study, MIA was induced in pregnant rats by injecting 4mg/kg Poly I:C at gestational day 15. Serum samples were collected to assess the amount of TNF-? in the maternal blood following MIA. MIA offspring were divided into weight loss (WL; n=14) and weight gain (WG; n=10) groups, depending on the maternal body weight response to Poly I:C. Adult offspring were behaviourally phenotyped for prepulse inhibition, locomotor activity with and without amphetamine and MK-801 challenge, and sucrose preference. Finally, microglia activation was scored on CD11b- and Iba1-immunohistochemically stained sections.
Pregnant dams that lost weight following MIA showed increased levels of TNF-? compared to controls, unlike dams that gained weight following MIA. Poly I:C WL offspring showed the most severe behavioural outcome. Poly I:C WG offspring, on the other hand, did not show clear behavioural deficits. Most interestingly a reduced sucrose preference indicative of anhedonia was found in Poly I:C WL but not Poly I:C WG offspring compared to controls. Finally, there were no significant differences in microglia activation scores between any of the investigated groups.
The individual maternal immune response to MIA is an important determinant of the behavioural outcome in offspring, including negative symptoms such as anhedonia. We failed to find any significant difference in the level of microglia activation between Poly I:C WL, Poly I:C WG and control offspring.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
36Transl Psychiatry 2014 -1 4: e418
TitleAssociation of aberrant neural synchrony and altered GAD67 expression following exposure to maternal immune activation, a risk factor for schizophrenia.
AbstractA failure of integrative processes within the brain, mediated via altered GABAergic inhibition, may underlie several features of schizophrenia. The present study examined, therefore, whether maternal immune activation (MIA), a risk factor for schizophrenia, altered inhibitory markers in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), while also altering electroencephalogram (EEG) coherence between these regions. Pregnant rats were treated with saline or polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid mid-gestation. EEG depth recordings were made from the dorsal and ventral hippocampus and mPFC of male adult offspring. Glutamic decarboxylase (GAD67) levels were separately assayed in these regions using western blot. GAD67 expression was also assessed within parvalbumin-positive cells in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus using immunofluorescence alongside stereological analysis of parvalbumin-positive cell numbers. EEG coherence was reduced between the dorsal hippocampus and mPFC, but not the ventral hippocampus and mPFC, in MIA animals. Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses revealed that GAD67 expression within parvalbumin-positive cells was also reduced in the dorsal hippocampus relative to ventral hippocampus in MIA animals when compared with controls. This reduction was observed in the absence of parvalbumin-positive neuronal loss. Overall, MIA produced a selective reduction in EEG coherence between the dorsal hippocampus and mPFC that was paralleled by a similarly specific reduction in GAD67 within parvalbumin-positive cells of the dorsal hippocampus. These results suggest a link between altered inhibitory mechanisms and synchrony and, therefore point to potential mechanisms via which a disruption in neurodevelopmental processes might lead to pathophysiology associated with schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
37Brain Behav. Immun. 2014 Oct 41: 173-81
TitleEffect of maternal immune activation on the kynurenine pathway in preadolescent rat offspring and on MK801-induced hyperlocomotion in adulthood: amelioration by COX-2 inhibition.
AbstractInfections during pregnancy and subsequent maternal immune activation (MIA) increase risk for schizophrenia in offspring. The progeny of rodents injected with the viral infection mimic polyI:C during gestation display brain and behavioural abnormalities but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Since the blood kynurenine pathway (KP) of tryptophan degradation impacts brain function and is strongly regulated by the immune system, we tested if KP changes occur in polyI:C offspring at preadolescence. We also tested whether MK801-induced hyperlocomotion, a behaviour characteristic of adult polyI:C offspring, is prevented by adolescent treatment with celecoxib, a COX-2 inhibitor that impacts the KP. Pregnant rats were treated with polyI:C (4mg/kg, i.v.) or vehicle on gestational day 19. Serum levels of KP metabolites were measured in offspring of polyI:C or vehicle treated dams at postnatal day (PND) 31-33 using HPLC/GCMS. Additional polyI:C or vehicle exposed offspring were given celecoxib or vehicle between PND 35 and 46 and tested with MK801 (0.3mg/kg) in adulthood (PND>90). Prenatal polyI:C resulted in increases in the serum KP neurotoxic metabolite quinolinic acid at PND 31-33 (105%, p=0.014). In contrast, the neuroprotective kynurenic acid and its precursor kynurenine were significantly decreased (28% p=0.027, and 31% p=0.033, respectively). Picolinic acid, another neuroprotective KP metabolite, was increased (31%, p=0.014). Adolescent treatment with celecoxib (2.5 and 5mg/kg/day, i.p.) prevented the development of MK801-induced hyperlocomotion in adult polyI:C offspring. Our study reveals the blood KP as a potential mechanism by which MIA interferes with postnatal brain maturation and associated behavioural disturbances and emphasises the preventative potential of inflammation targeting drugs.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
38Front Behav Neurosci 2014 -1 8: 168
TitleHeightened fear in response to a safety cue and extinguished fear cue in a rat model of maternal immune activation.
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy is an environmental risk factor for psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism in the offspring. Hence, changes in an array of behaviors, including behavioral flexibility, consistent with altered functioning of cortico-limbic circuits have been reported in rodent models of MIA. Surprisingly, previous studies have not examined the effect of MIA on the extinction of fear conditioning which depends on cortico-limbic circuits. Thus, we tested the effects of treating pregnant Long Evans rats with the viral mimetic polyI:C (gestational day 15; 4 mg/kg; i.v.) on fear conditioning and extinction in the male offspring using two different tasks. In the first experiment, we observed no effect of polyI:C treatment on the acquisition or extinction of a classically conditioned fear memory in a non-discriminative auditory cue paradigm. However, polyI:C-treated offspring did increase contextual freezing during the recall of fear extinction in this non-discriminative paradigm. The second experiment utilized a recently developed task to explicitly test the ability of rats to discriminate among cues signifying fear, reward, and safety; a task that requires behavioral flexibility. To our surprise, polyI:C-treated rats acquired the task in a manner similar to saline-treated rats. However, upon subsequent extinction training, they showed significantly faster extinction of the freezing response to the fear cue. In contrast, during the extinction recall test, polyI:C-treated offspring showed enhanced freezing behavior before and after presentation of the fear cue, suggesting an impairment in their ability to regulate fear behavior. These behavioral results are integrated into the literature suggesting impairments in cortico-limbic brain function in the offspring of rats treated with polyI:C during pregnancy.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
39Biol. Psychiatry 2014 Feb 75: 332-41
TitleActivation of the maternal immune system during pregnancy alters behavioral development of rhesus monkey offspring.
AbstractMaternal infection during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia and autism in the offspring. Supporting this correlation, experimentally activating the maternal immune system during pregnancy in rodents produces offspring with abnormal brain and behavioral development. We have developed a nonhuman primate model to bridge the gap between clinical populations and rodent models of maternal immune activation (MIA).
A modified form of the viral mimic, synthetic double-stranded RNA (polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid stabilized with poly-L-lysine) was delivered to two separate groups of pregnant rhesus monkeys to induce MIA: 1) late first trimester MIA (n = 6), and 2) late second trimester MIA (n = 7). Control animals (n = 11) received saline injections at the same first or second trimester time points or were untreated. Sickness behavior, temperature, and cytokine profiles of the pregnant monkeys confirmed a strong inflammatory response to MIA.
Behavioral development of the offspring was studied for 24 months. Following weaning at 6 months of age, MIA offspring exhibited abnormal responses to separation from their mothers. As the animals matured, MIA offspring displayed increased repetitive behaviors and decreased affiliative vocalizations. When evaluated with unfamiliar conspecifics, first trimester MIA offspring deviated from species-typical macaque social behavior by inappropriately approaching and remaining in immediate proximity of an unfamiliar animal.
In this rhesus monkey model, MIA yields offspring with abnormal repetitive behaviors, communication, and social interactions. These results extended the findings in rodent MIA models to more human-like behaviors resembling those in both autism and schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
40Schizophr. Res. 2015 Oct 168: 411-20
TitleModulation of schizophrenia-related genes in the forebrain of adolescent and adult rats exposed to maternal immune activation.
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) is an environmental risk factor for schizophrenia, and may contribute to other developmental disorders including autism and epilepsy. Activation of pro-inflammatory cytokine systems by injection of the synthetic double-stranded RNA polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidilic acid (Poly I:C) mediates important neurochemical and behavioral corollaries of MIA, which have relevance to deficits observed in schizophrenia. We examined the consequences of MIA on forebrain expression of neuregulin-1 (NRG-1), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and their receptors, ErbB4 and trkB, respectively, genes associated with schizophrenia. On gestational day 14, pregnant rats were injected with Poly I:C or vehicle. Utilizing in situ hybridization, expression of NRG-1, ErbB4, BDNF, and trkB was examined in male rat offspring at postnatal day (P) 14, P30 and P60. ErbB4 mRNA expression was significantly increased at P30 in the anterior cingulate (AC Ctx), frontal, and parietal cortices, with increases in AC Ctx expression continuing through P60. ErbB4 expression was also elevated in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) at P14. In contrast, NRG-1 mRNA was decreased in the PFC at P60. Expression of BDNF mRNA was significantly upregulated in the PFC at P60 and decreased in the AC Ctx at P14. Expression of trkB was increased in two regions, the piriform cortex at P14 and the striatum at P60. These findings demonstrate developmentally and regionally selective alterations in the expression of schizophrenia-related genes as a consequence of MIA. Further study is needed to determine contributions of these effects to the development of alterations of relevance to neuropsychiatric diseases.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
41Brain Behav. Immun. 2015 Aug 48: 232-43
TitlePrenatal immune activation alters hippocampal place cell firing characteristics in adult animals.
AbstractPrenatal maternal immune activation (MIA) is a risk factor for several developmental neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Adults with these disorders display alterations in memory function that may result from changes in the structure and function of the hippocampus. In the present study we use an animal model to investigate the effect that a transient prenatal maternal immune activation episode has on the spatially-modulated firing activity of hippocampal neurons in adult animals. MIA was induced in pregnant rat dams with a single injection of the synthetic cytokine inducer polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C) on gestational day 15. Control dams were given a saline equivalent. Firing activity and local field potentials (LFPs) were recorded from the CA1 region of the adult male offspring of these dams as they moved freely in an open arena. Most neurons displayed characteristic spatially-modulated 'place cell' firing activity and while there was no between-group difference in mean firing rate between groups, place cells had smaller place fields in MIA-exposed animals when compared to control-group cells. Cells recorded in MIA-group animals also displayed an altered firing-phase synchrony relationship to simultaneously recorded LFPs. When the floor of the arena was rotated, the place fields of MIA-group cells were more likely to shift in the same direction as the floor rotation, suggesting that local cues may have been more salient for these animals. In contrast, place fields in control group cells were more likely to shift firing position to novel spatial locations suggesting an altered response to contextual cues. These findings show that a single MIA intervention is sufficient to change several important characteristics of hippocampal place cell activity in adult offspring. These changes could contribute to the memory dysfunction that is associated with MIA, by altering the encoding of spatial context and by disrupting plasticity mechanisms that are dependent on spike timing synchrony.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
42PLoS ONE 2015 -1 10: e0129011
TitleThe suppression of maternal-fetal leukemia inhibitory factor signal relay pathway by maternal immune activation impairs brain development in mice.
AbstractRecent studies in rodents suggest that maternal immune activation (MIA) by viral infection is associated with schizophrenia and autism in offspring. Although maternal IL-6 is though t to be a possible mediator relating MIA induced these neuropsychiatric disorders, the mechanism remains to be elucidated. Previously, we reported that the maternal leukeMIA inhibitory factor (LIF)-placental ACTH-fetal LIF signaling relay pathway (maternal-fetal LIF signal relay) promotes neurogenesis of fetal cerebrum in rats. Here we report that the maternal-fetal LIF signal relay in mice is suppressed by injection of polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid into dams, which induces MIA at 12.5 days post-coitum. Maternal IL-6 levels and gene expression of placental suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (Socs3) increased according to the severity of MIA and gene expression of placental Socs3 correlated with maternal IL-6 levels. Furthermore, we show that MIA causes reduction of LIF level in the fetal cerebrospinal fluid, resulting in the decreased neurogenesis in the cerebrum. These findings suggest that maternal IL-6 interferes the maternal-fetal LIF signal relay by inducing SOCS3 in the placenta and leads to decreased neurogenesis.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
43Am. J. Reprod. Immunol. 2015 Jun 73: 522-35
TitleMaternal Lipopolysaccharide Exposure Promotes Immunological Functional Changes in Adult Offspring CD4+ T Cells.
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) is a risk factor for autism and schizophrenia. However, how MIA affects offspring immune function remains unknown.
To investigate the effect of MIA on the offspring, pregnant C57BL/6J mice were given an intraperitoneal injection of 50 ?g/kg lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on gestational day 12.5.
Adult LPS-treated offspring were hyper-reactive to LPS, and enhanced tumor necrosis factor-? production was observed. CD4+ T cells from LPS offspring had an elevated percentage of interferon (IFN)-?(+) CD4+ T cells and interleukin (IL)-17A+ CD4+ T cells in the spleen, IL-17A+ CD4+ T cells in the liver, and CD4+ Foxp3+ T cells in the spleen. LPS offspring CD4+ T cells showed increased proliferation and an enhanced survival rate. DNA microarray analysis of resting LPS offspring CD4+ T cells identified eight up-regulated genes, most of which encoded transcription factors. Quantitative liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry identified 18 up-regulated proteins in resting LPS offspring CD4+ T cells and five up-regulated proteins in activated LPS offspring CD4+ T cells, most of which participated in the PANTHER Gene Ontology metabolic process.
Our results showed that MIA to LPS up-regulated proteins involved in metabolic process in CD4+ T cells from LPS offspring that might contribute to the hyperactivated immune response of adult LPS offspring.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
44Brain Behav. Immun. 2015 May 46: 192-202
TitleThe interaction between maternal immune activation and alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in regulating behaviors in the offspring.
AbstractMutation of human chromosome 15q13.3 increases the risk for autism and schizophrenia. One of the noteworthy genes in 15q13.3 is CHRNA7, which encodes the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 7 subunit (?7nAChR) associated with schizophrenia in clinical studies and rodent models. This study investigates the role of ?7nAChR in maternal immune activation (MIA) mice model, a murine model of environmental risk factor for autism and schizophrenia. We provided choline, a selective ?7nAChR agonist among its several developmental roles, in the diet of C57BL/6N wild-type dams throughout the gestation and lactation period and induced MIA at mid-gestation. The adult offspring behavior and gene expression profile in the maternal-placental-fetal axis at mid-gestation were investigated. We found that choline supplementation prevented several MIA-induced behavioral abnormalities in the wild-type offspring. Pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (Il6) and Chrna7 gene expression in the wild-type fetal brain were elevated by poly(I:C) injection and were suppressed by gestational choline supplementation. We further investigated the gene expression level of Il6 in Chrna7 mutant mice. We found that the basal level of Il6 was higher in Chrna7 mutant fetal brain, which suggests that ?7nAChR may serve an anti-inflammatory role in the fetal brain during development. Lastly, we induced MIA in Chrna7(+/-) offspring. The Chrna7(+/-) offspring were more vulnerable to MIA, with increased behavioral abnormalities. Our study shows that ?7nAChR modulates inflammatory response affecting the fetal brain and demonstrates its effects on offspring behavior development after MIA.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
45Front Cell Neurosci 2015 -1 9: 489
TitleChanges in Astroglial Markers in a Maternal Immune Activation Model of Schizophrenia in Wistar Rats are Dependent on Sex.
AbstractData from epidemiological studies suggest that prenatal exposure to bacterial and viral infection is an important environmental risk factor for schizophrenia. The maternal immune activation (MIA) animal model is used to study how an insult directed at the maternal host can have adverse effects on the fetus, leading to behavioral and neurochemical changes later in life. We evaluated whether the administration of LPS to rat dams during late pregnancy affects astroglial markers (S100B and GFAP) of the offspring in later life. The frontal cortex and hippocampus were compared in male and female offspring on postnatal days (PND) 30 and 60. The S100B protein exhibited an age-dependent pattern of expression, being increased in the frontal cortex and hippocampus of the MIA group at PND 60, while at PND 30, male rats presented increased S100B levels only in the frontal cortex. Considering that S100B secretion is reduced by elevation of glutamate levels, we may hypothesize that this early increment in frontal cortex tissue of males is associated with elevated extracellular levels of glutamate and glutamatergic hypofunction, an alteration commonly associated with SCZ pathology. Moreover, we also found augmented GFAP in the frontal cortex of the LPS group at PND 30, but not in the hippocampus. Taken together data indicate that astroglial changes induced by MIA are dependent on sex and brain region and that these changes could reflect astroglial dysfunction. Such alterations may contribute to our understanding of the abnormal neuronal connectivity and developmental aspects of SCZ and other psychiatric disorders.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
46Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 2015 Mar 57: 155-65
TitleBehavioral alterations in rat offspring following maternal immune activation and ELR-CXC chemokine receptor antagonism during pregnancy: implications for neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders.
AbstractResearch suggests that maternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy increases the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders including schizophrenia and autism in the offspring. Current theories suggest that inflammatory mediators including cytokines and chemokines may underlie the increased risk of these disorders in humans. For example, elevated maternal interleukin-8 (IL-8) during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of schizophrenia in the offspring. Given this association, the present experiments examined ELR-CXC chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL2, rodent homologues of human IL-8, and activation of their receptors (CXCR1 and CXCR2) in an established rodent model of MIA. Pregnant Long Evans rats were treated with the viral mimetic polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (polyI:C; 4 mg/kg, i.v.) on gestational day 15. Protein analysis using multiplex assays and ELISA showed that polyI:C significantly increased maternal serum concentrations of interleukin-1?, tumor necrosis factor, and CXCL1 3h after administration. Subsequent experiments tested the role of elevated maternal CXCL1 on behavior of the offspring by administering a CXCR1/CXCR2 antagonist (G31P; 500 ?g/kg, i.p.; 1h before, 48 and 96 h after polyI:C treatment). The male offspring of dams treated with polyI:C demonstrated subtle impairments in prepulse inhibition (PPI), impaired associative and crossmodal recognition memory, and altered behavioral flexibility in an operant test battery. While G31P did not completely reverse the behavioral impairments caused by polyI:C, it enhanced PPI during adolescence and strategy set-shifting and reversal learning during young adulthood. These results suggest that while polyI:C treatment significantly increases maternal CXCL1, elevations of this chemokine are not solely responsible for the effects of polyI:C on the behavior of the offspring.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
47Transl Psychiatry 2015 -1 5: e641
TitleDietary supplementation with n-3 fatty acids from weaning limits brain biochemistry and behavioural changes elicited by prenatal exposure to maternal inflammation in the mouse model.
AbstractPrenatal exposure to maternal immune activation (MIA) increases the risk of schizophrenia and autism in the offspring. The MIA rodent model provides a valuable tool to directly test the postnatal consequences of exposure to an early inflammatory insult; and examine novel preventative strategies. Here we tested the hypotheses that behavioural differences in the MIA mouse model are accompanied by in vivo and ex vivo alterations in brain biochemistry; and that these can be prevented by a post-weaning diet enriched with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). The viral analogue PolyI:C (POL) or saline (SAL) was administered to pregnant mice on gestation day 9. Half the resulting male offspring (POL=21; SAL=17) were weaned onto a conventional lab diet (n-6 PUFA); half were weaned onto n-3 PUFA-enriched diet. In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy measures were acquired prior to behavioural tests; glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) and tyrosine hydroxylase protein levels were measured ex vivo. The main findings were: (i) Adult MIA-exposed mice fed a standard diet had greater N-acetylaspartate/creatine (Cr) and lower myo-inositol/Cr levels in the cingulate cortex in vivo. (ii) The extent of these metabolite differences was correlated with impairment in prepulse inhibition. (iii) MIA-exposed mice on the control diet also had higher levels of anxiety and altered levels of GAD67 ex vivo. (iv) An n-3 PUFA diet prevented all the in vivo and ex vivo effects of MIA observed. Thus, n-3 PUFA dietary enrichment from early life may offer a relatively safe and non-toxic approach to limit the otherwise persistent behavioural and biochemical consequences of prenatal exposure to inflammation. This result may have translational importance.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
48Pharmacol. Ther. 2015 May 149: 213-26
TitleThe poly(I:C)-induced maternal immune activation model in preclinical neuropsychiatric drug discovery.
AbstractIncreasing epidemiological and experimental evidence implicates gestational infections as one important factor involved in the pathogenesis of several neuropsychiatric disorders. Corresponding preclinical model systems based upon maternal immune activation (MIA) by treatment of the pregnant female have been developed. These MIA animal model systems have been successfully used in basic and translational research approaches, contributing to the investigation of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms at the molecular, cellular and behavioral levels. The present article focuses on the application of a specific MIA rodent paradigm, based upon treatment of the gestating dam with the viral mimic polyinosinic-polycytidilic acid (Poly(I:C)), a synthetic analog of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) which activates the Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) pathway. Important advantages and constraints of this animal model will be discussed, specifically in light of gestational infection as one vulnerability factor contributing to the complex etiology of mood and psychotic disorders, which are likely the result of intricate multi-level gene×environment interactions. Improving our currently incomplete understanding of the molecular pathomechanistic principles underlying these disorders is a prerequisite for the development of alternative therapeutic approaches which are critically needed in light of the important drawbacks and limitations of currently available pharmacological treatment options regarding efficacy and side effects. The particular relevance of the Poly(I:C) MIA model for the discovery of novel drug targets for symptomatic and preventive therapeutic strategies in mood and psychotic disorders is highlighted in this review article.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
49Curr Neuropharmacol 2015 Dec -1: -1
TitleAnimal Models of Maternal Immune Activation in Depression Research.
AbstractDepression and schizophrenia are debilitating mental illnesses with significant socio-economic impact. The high degree of comorbidity between the two disorders, shared symptoms and risk factors, suggest partly common pathogenic mechanisms. Supported by human and animal studies, maternal immune activation (MIA) has been intimately associated with the development of schizophrenia. However, the link between MIA and depression has remained less clear, in part due to the lack of appropriate animal models.
Here we aim to summarize findings obtained from studies using MIA animal models and discuss their relevance for preclinical depression research.
Results on molecular, cellular and behavioral phenotypes in MIA animal models were collected by literature search (PubMed) and evaluated for their significance for depression.
Several reports on offspring depression-related behavioral alterations indicate an involvement of MIA in the development of depression later in life. Depression-related behavioral phenotypes were frequently paralleled by neurogenic and neurotrophic deficits and modulated by several genetic and environmental factors.
Literature evidence analyzed in this review supports a relevance of MIA as animal model for a specific early life adversity, which may prime an individual for the development of distinct psychopathologies later life. MIA animal models may present a unique tool for the identification of additional exogenous and endogenous factors, which are required for the determination of a specific neuropsychiatric disorder, such as depression, later in life. Hereby, novel insights into the molecular mechanism involved in the pathophysiology of depression may be obtained, supporting the identification of alternative therapeutic strategies.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
50Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2015 Dec 25: 2210-20
TitleLongitudinal in vivo maturational changes of metabolites in the prefrontal cortex of rats exposed to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid in utero.
AbstractProton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H MRS) studies in schizophrenia patients generally report decreased levels of N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), glutamate and glutathione, particularly in frontal cortex. However, these data are inconsistent in part due to confounds associated with clinical samples. The lack of validated diagnostic biomarkers also hampers analysis of the neurodevelopmental trajectory of neurochemical abnormalities. Rodent models are powerful tools to address these issues, particularly when combined with (1)H MRS (clinically comparable technology). We investigated the trajectory of metabolic changes in the prefrontal cortex during brain maturation from adolescence to adulthood in vivo using (1)H MRS in rats exposed prenatally to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (POL), a rodent model of maternal immune activation (MIA), an epidemiological risk factor for several psychiatric disorders with a neurodevelopmental origin. Longitudinal in vivo (1)H MRS revealed a significant decrease in PFC levels of GSH and taurine in adult, but not adolescent rats. Significant age×MIA interactions for PFC levels of NAA were also observed. These data replicate some deficits observed in the PFC of patients with schizophrenia. There were no significant changes in the levels of glutamate or any other metabolite. These data suggest prenatal exposure to POL leads to subtle metabolic perturbations of the normal maturing PFC, which may be related to subsequent behavioural abnormalities. Further work is however required to examine any potential confound of shipping stress on the presumed imbalances in PFC metabolites in POL-exposed offspring. Testing the interactions between MIA with stress or genetic risk variants will also be an important advance.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
51Brain Behav. Immun. 2015 Nov 50: 249-58
TitleImpaired synaptic development in a maternal immune activation mouse model of neurodevelopmental disorders.
AbstractBoth genetic and environmental factors are thought to contribute to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders with maternal immune activation (MIA) being a risk factor for both autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. Although MIA mouse offspring exhibit behavioral impairments, the synaptic alterations in vivo that mediate these behaviors are not known. Here we employed in vivo multiphoton imaging to determine that in the cortex of young MIA offspring there is a reduction in number and turnover rates of dendritic spines, sites of majority of excitatory synaptic inputs. Significantly, spine impairments persisted into adulthood and correlated with increased repetitive behavior, an ASD relevant behavioral phenotype. Structural analysis of synaptic inputs revealed a reorganization of presynaptic inputs with a larger proportion of spines being contacted by both excitatory and inhibitory presynaptic terminals. These structural impairments were accompanied by altered excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission. Finally, we report that a postnatal treatment of MIA offspring with the anti-inflammatory drug ibudilast, prevented both synaptic and behavioral impairments. Our results suggest that a possible altered inflammatory state associated with maternal immune activation results in impaired synaptic development that persists into adulthood but which can be prevented with early anti-inflammatory treatment.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
52Brain Res. 2015 Aug 1618: 122-35
TitleAdolescent olanzapine sensitization is correlated with hippocampal stem cell proliferation in a maternal immune activation rat model of schizophrenia.
AbstractPrevious work established that repeated olanzapine (OLZ) administration in normal adolescent rats induces a sensitization effect (i.e. increased behavioral responsiveness to drug re-exposure) in the conditioned avoidance response (CAR) model. However, it is unclear whether the same phenomenon can be detected in animal models of schizophrenia. The present study explored the generalizability of OLZ sensitization from healthy animals to a preclinical neuroinflammatory model of schizophrenia in the CAR. Maternal immune activation (MIA) was induced via polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (PolyI:C) administration into pregnant dams. Behavioral assessments of offspring first identified decreased maternal separation-induced pup ultrasonic vocalizations and increased amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion in animals prenatally exposed to PolyI:C. In addition, repeated adolescent OLZ administration confirmed the generalizability of the sensitization phenomenon. Using the CAR test, adolescent MIA animals displayed a similar increase in behavioral responsiveness after repeated OLZ exposure during both the repeated drug test days as well as a subsequent challenge test. Neurobiologically, few studies examining the relationship between hippocampal cell proliferation and survival and either antipsychotic exposure or MIA have incorporated concurrent behavioral changes. Thus, the current study also sought to reveal the correlation between OLZ behavioral sensitization in the CAR and hippocampal cell proliferation and survival. 5'-bromodeoxyuridine immunohistochemistry identified a positive correlation between the magnitude of OLZ sensitization (i.e. change in avoidance suppression induced by OLZ across days) and hippocampal cell proliferation. The implications of the relationship between behavioral and neurobiological results are discussed.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
53Brain Behav. Immun. 2015 Aug 48: 139-46
TitlePreliminary evidence of neuropathology in nonhuman primates prenatally exposed to maternal immune activation.
AbstractMaternal infection during pregnancy increases the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring. Rodent models have played a critical role in establishing maternal immune activation (MIA) as a causal factor for altered brain and behavioral development in offspring. We recently extended these findings to a species more closely related to humans by demonstrating that rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) prenatally exposed to MIA also develop abnormal behaviors. Here, for the first time, we present initial evidence of underlying brain pathology in this novel nonhuman primate MIA model. Pregnant rhesus monkeys were injected with a modified form of the viral mimic polyI:C (poly ICLC) or saline at the end of the first trimester. Brain tissue was collected from the offspring at 3.5 years and blocks of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA46) were used to analyze neuronal dendritic morphology and spine density using the Golgi-Cox impregnation method. For each case, 10 layer III pyramidal cells were traced in their entirety, including all apical, oblique and basal dendrites, and their spines. We further analyzed somal size and apical dendrite trunk morphology in 30 cells per case over a 30 ?m section located 100±10 ?m from the soma. Compared to controls, apical dendrites of MIA-treated offspring were smaller in diameter and exhibited a greater number of oblique dendrites. These data provide the first evidence that prenatal exposure to MIA alters dendritic morphology in a nonhuman primate MIA model, which may have profound implications for revealing the underlying neuropathology of neurodevelopmental disorders related to maternal infection.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
54Biol. Psychiatry 2015 May 77: 823-32
TitleMaternal immune activation in nonhuman primates alters social attention in juvenile offspring.
AbstractSickness during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of offspring neurodevelopmental disorders. Rodent models have played a critical role in establishing causal relationships and identifying mechanisms of altered brain and behavior development in pups prenatally exposed to maternal immune activation (MIA). We recently developed a novel nonhuman primate model to bridge the gap between human epidemiological studies and rodent models of prenatal immune challenge. Our initial results demonstrated that rhesus monkeys given the viral mimic synthetic double-stranded RNA (polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid stabilized with poly-l-lysine) during pregnancy produce offspring with abnormal repetitive behaviors, altered communication, and atypical social interactions.
We utilized noninvasive infrared eye tracking to further evaluate social processing capabilities in a subset of the first trimester MIA-exposed offspring (n = 4) and control animals (n = 4) from our previous study.
As juveniles, the MIA offspring differed from control animals on several measures of social attention, particularly when viewing macaque faces depicting the fear grimace facial expression. Compared with control animals, MIA offspring had a longer latency before fixating on the eyes, had fewer fixations directed at the eyes, and spent less total time fixating on the eyes of the fear grimace images.
In the rhesus monkey model, exposure to MIA at the end of the first trimester results in abnormal gaze patterns to salient social information. The use of noninvasive eye tracking extends the findings from rodent MIA models to more human-like behaviors resembling those in both autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
55Psychiatry Res 2016 Jun 240: 260-4
TitleStriatal but not frontal cortical up-regulation of the epidermal growth factor receptor in rats exposed to immune activation in utero and cannabinoid treatment in adolescence.
AbstractIn utero maternal immune activation (MIA) and cannabinoid exposure during adolescence constitute environmental risk factors for schizophrenia. We investigated these risk factors alone and in combination ("two-hit") on epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and neuregulin-1 receptor (ErbB4) levels in the rat brain. EGFR but not ErbB4 receptor protein levels were significantly increased in the nucleus accumbens and striatum of "two-hit" rats only, with no changes seen at the mRNA level. These findings support region specific EGF-system dysregulation as a plausible mechanism in this animal model of schizophrenia pathogenesis.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
56J Vis Exp 2016 -1 -1: -1
TitleInduction of Maternal Immune Activation in Mice at Mid-gestation Stage with Viral Mimic Poly(I:C).
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) model is increasingly well appreciated as a rodent model for the environmental risk factor of various psychiatric disorders. Numerous studies have demonstrated that MIA model is able to show face, construct, and predictive validity that are relevant to autism and schizophrenia. To model MIA, investigators often use viral mimic polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)) to activate the immune system in pregnant rodents. Generally, the offspring from immune activated dam exhibit behavioral abnormalities and physiological alterations that are associated with autism and schizophrenia. However, poly(I:C) injection with different dosages and at different time points could lead to different outcomes by perturbing brain development at different stages. Here we provide a detailed method of inducing MIA by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of 20 mg/kg poly(I:C) at mid-gestational embryonic 12.5 days (E12.5). This method has been shown to induce acute inflammatory response in the maternal-placental-fetal axis, which ultimately results in the brain perturbations and behavioral phenotypes that are associated with autism and schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
57Schizophr. Res. 2016 Mar 171: 195-9
TitleMaternal immune activation alters glutamic acid decarboxylase-67 expression in the brains of adult rat offspring.
AbstractActivation of the maternal innate immune system, termed "maternal immune activation" (MIA), represents a common environmental risk factor for schizophrenia. Whereas evidence suggests dysregulation of GABA systems may underlie the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, a role for MIA in alteration of GABAergic systems is less clear. Here, pregnant rats received either the viral mimetic polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidilic acid or vehicle injection on gestational day 14. Glutamic acid decarboxylase-67 (GAD67) mRNA expression was examined in male offspring at postnatal day (P)14, P30 and P60. At P60, GAD67 mRNA was elevated in hippocampus and thalamus and decreased in prefrontal cortex of MIA offspring. MIA-induced alterations in GAD expression could contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
58Brain Behav. Immun. 2016 Feb -1: -1
TitleAlteration of transcriptional networks in the entorhinal cortex after maternal immune activation and adolescent cannabinoid exposure.
AbstractMaternal immune activation (MIA) and adolescent cannabinoid exposure (ACE) have both been identified as major environmental risk factors for schizophrenia. We examined the effects of these two risk factors alone, and in combination, on gene expression during late adolescence. Pregnant rats were exposed to the viral infection mimic polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid (poly I:C) on gestational day (GD) 15. Adolescent offspring received daily injections of the cannabinoid HU210 for 14days starting on postnatal day (PND) 35. Gene expression was examined in the left entorhinal cortex (EC) using mRNA microarrays. We found prenatal treatment with poly I:C alone, or HU210 alone, produced relatively minor changes in gene expression. However, following combined treatments, offspring displayed significant changes in transcription. This dramatic and persistent alteration of transcriptional networks enriched with genes involved in neurotransmission, cellular signalling and schizophrenia, was associated with a corresponding perturbation in the expression of small non-coding microRNA (miRNA). These results suggest that a combination of environmental exposures during development leads to significant genomic remodeling that disrupts maturation of the EC and its associated circuitry with important implications as the potential antecedents of memory and learning deficits in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
59Mol. Psychiatry 2016 Feb -1: -1
TitleMaternal immune activation leads to selective functional deficits in offspring parvalbumin interneurons.
AbstractAbnormalities in prefrontal gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic transmission, particularly in fast-spiking interneurons that express parvalbumin (PV), are hypothesized to contribute to the pathophysiology of multiple psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and depression. While primarily histological abnormalities have been observed in patients and in animal models of psychiatric disease, evidence for abnormalities in functional neurotransmission at the level of specific interneuron populations has been lacking in animal models and is difficult to establish in human patients. Using an animal model of a psychiatric disease risk factor, prenatal maternal immune activation (MIA), we found reduced functional GABAergic transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of adult MIA offspring. Decreased transmission was selective for interneurons expressing PV, resulted from a decrease in release probability and was not observed in calretinin-expressing neurons. This deficit in PV function in MIA offspring was associated with increased anxiety-like behavior and impairments in attentional set shifting, but did not affect working memory. Furthermore, cell-type specific optogenetic inhibition of mPFC PV interneurons was sufficient to impair attentional set shifting and enhance anxiety levels. Finally, we found that in vivo mPFC gamma oscillations, which are supported by PV interneuron function, were linearly correlated with the degree of anxiety displayed in adult mice, and that this correlation was disrupted in MIA offspring. These results demonstrate a selective functional vulnerability of PV interneurons to MIA, leading to affective and cognitive symptoms that have high relevance for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 2 February 2016; doi:10.1038/mp.2015.222.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
60Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 2016 Feb 65: 118-26
TitleIncreased white matter neuron density in a rat model of maternal immune activation - Implications for schizophrenia.
AbstractInterstitial neurons are located among white matter tracts of the human and rodent brain. Post-mortem studies have identified increased interstitial white matter neuron (IWMN) density in the fibre tracts below the cortex in people with schizophrenia. The current study assesses IWMN pathology in a model of maternal immune activation (MIA); a risk factor for schizophrenia. Experimental MIA was produced by an injection of polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (PolyI:C) into pregnant rats on gestational day (GD) 10 or GD19. A separate control group received saline injections. The density of neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN(+)) and somatostatin (SST(+)) IWMNs was determined in the white matter of the corpus callosum in two rostrocaudally adjacent areas in the 12week old offspring of GD10 (n=10) or GD19 polyI:C dams (n=18) compared to controls (n=20). NeuN(+) IWMN density trended to be higher in offspring from dams exposed to polyI:C at GD19, but not GD10. A subpopulation of these NeuN(+) IWMNs was shown to express SST. PolyI:C treatment of dams induced a significant increase in the density of SST(+) IWMNs in the offspring when delivered at both gestational stages with more regionally widespread effects observed at GD19. A positive correlation was observed between NeuN(+) and SST(+) IWMN density in animals exposed to polyI:C at GD19, but not controls. This is the first study to show that MIA increases IWMN density in adult offspring in a similar manner to that seen in the brain in schizophrenia. This suggests the MIA model will be useful in future studies aimed at probing the relationship between IWMNs and schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal
61Brain Behav. Immun. 2016 Apr -1: -1
TitleWidespread alterations in the synaptic proteome of the adolescent cerebral cortex following prenatal immune activation in rats.
AbstractAn increasing number of studies have revealed associations between pre- and perinatal immune activation and the development of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Accordingly, neuroimmune crosstalk has a considerably large impact on brain development during early ontogenesis. While a plethora of heterogeneous abnormalities have already been described in established maternal immune activation (MIA) rodent and primate animal models, which highly correlate to those found in human diseases, the underlying molecular background remains obscure. In the current study, we describe the long-term effects of MIA on the neocortical pre- and postsynaptic proteome of adolescent rat offspring in detail. Molecular differences were revealed in sub-synaptic fractions, which were first thoroughly characterized using independent methods. The widespread proteomic examination of cortical samples from offspring exposed to maternal lipopolysaccharide administration at embryonic day 13.5 was conducted via combinations of different gel-based proteomic techniques and tandem mass spectrometry. Our experimentally validated proteomic data revealed more pre- than postsynaptic protein level changes in the offspring. The results propose the relevance of altered synaptic vesicle recycling, cytoskeletal structure and energy metabolism in the presynaptic region in addition to alterations in vesicle trafficking, the cytoskeleton and signal transduction in the postsynaptic compartment in MIA offspring. Differing levels of the prominent signaling regulator molecule calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in the postsynapse was validated and identified specifically in the prefrontal cortex. Finally, several potential common molecular regulators of these altered proteins, which are already known to be implicated in schizophrenia and ASD, were identified and assessed. In summary, unexpectedly widespread changes in the synaptic molecular machinery in MIA rats were demonstrated which might underlie the pathological cortical functions that are characteristic of schizophrenia and ASD.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic, schizotypal