Leptin and interleukin-6 alter the function of mesolimbic dopamine neurons in a rodent model of prenatal inflammation.

PMID 22133515


Maternal inflammation during critical stages of gestation is thought to underlie the link between prenatal infection and several neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders in the offspring, including schizophrenia. Increased activity of mesolimbic dopamine (DA) neurons, a hallmark of psychosis, is found in offspring of rodents exposed to a prenatal inflammatory challenge but it is unclear how this effect is elicited. Using an experimental model of localized aseptic inflammation with turpentine oil (TURP) we sought to establish whether circulating interleukin-6 (IL-6) and leptin play a role in the effects of prenatal inflammation on DA neurons. Both mediators are involved in the systemic inflammatory response to immunogens, with IL-6 mediating the early phase, followed by leptin in the late phase of the response. Maternal treatment with TURP at gestational day (GD) 15 enhanced the locomotor response to the DA indirect agonist, amphetamine (AMPH), increased the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), an enzyme involved in DA synthesis, DA levels and the expression of the post-synaptic protein spinophilin in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) in the adult offspring. All of these alterations were totally abolished by co-treating the pregnant dams with a neutralizing IL-6 antiserum. Neutralization of maternal leptin prevented the enhanced behavioral sensitization and elevation of DA and spinophilin in the NAcc but spared other changes regulated by IL-6, such as increased NAcc TH levels and acute locomotor response to AMPH. Our results provide novel evidence to suggest that prenatal surges in both maternal circulating IL-6 and leptin contribute to the appearance of sensitized DA function in the adult offspring.

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W308900 L-Turpentine, FG
24245 Oil of turpentine, purified