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Programming Effects of Pubertal Lipopolysaccharide Treatment in Male and Female CD-1 Mice.

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) (2019-02-10)
Rupali Sharma, Spencer van Mil, Brett Melanson, Bronwen J Thomas, Jasmine Rooke, Jean-François Mallet, Chantal Matar, Jaclyn M Schwarz, Nafissa Ismail

Puberty is a critical period of development marked by sexual, immune, and neural maturation. Exposure to stress during this period can lead to enduring changes in brain functioning and in behavior; however, the underlying mechanisms and the programming effects of stress during puberty remain unknown. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the programming effects of pubertal immune challenge in response to a homotypic stressor later in life in CD-1 mice. Age and sex differences in the peripheral and central cytokine levels, along with sickness behavior and telemetry data, were analyzed following the secondary treatment. The results showed that pretreatment with LPS attenuated the immune response to a second homotypic challenge. Males pretreated with LPS during puberty and in early adulthood displayed an attenuated hypothermic response following the second LPS treatment compared with saline-pretreated controls, which is consistent with the attenuated peripheral IL-6 and IFN-γ concentrations. Females pretreated with LPS during puberty displayed lower IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-6 mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex following the secondary immune challenge compared with saline controls. The results of this study show that exposure to LPS during puberty programs the peripheral and central immune responses, resulting in an attenuated immune response following a subsequent homotypic stressor. Thus, exposure to an immune challenge during puberty affects immune function later in life, which could permanently affect brain function and have implications on mental health.