Prenatal infections can increase the risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia in the offspring, especially when combined with other postnatal insults. Here, we tested, in a rat model of prenatal immune challenge by the viral mimic polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidilic acid, whether maternal immune activation (MIA) affects the endocannabinoid system and endocannabinoid-mediated modulation of dopamine functions. Experiments were performed during adolescence to assess i) the behavioral endophenotype (locomotor activity, plus maze, prepulse inhibition of startle reflex); ii) the locomotor activity in response to Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and iii) the properties of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons in vivo and their response to THC; iv) endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic plasticity in VTA dopamine neurons; v) the expression of cannabinoid receptors and enzymes involved in endocannabinoid synthesis and catabolism in mesolimbic structures and vi) MIA-induced neuroinflammatory scenario evaluated by measurements of levels of cytokine and neuroinflammation markers. We revealed that MIA offspring displayed an altered locomotor activity in response to THC, a higher bursting activity of VTA dopamine neurons and a lack of response to cumulative doses of THC. Consistently, MIA adolescence offspring showed an enhanced 2-arachidonoylglycerol-mediated synaptic plasticity and decreased monoacylglycerol lipase activity in mesolimbic structures. Moreover, they displayed a higher expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) and ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 (IBA-1), associated with latent inflammation and persistent microglia activity. In conclusion, we unveiled neurobiological mechanisms whereby inflammation caused by MIA influences the proper development of endocannabinoid signaling that negatively impacts the dopamine system, eventually leading to psychotic-like symptoms in adulthood.

Maternal immune activation impairs endocannabinoid signaling in the mesolimbic system of adolescent male offspring

Santoni, Michele
Primo
;
Sagheddu, Claudia;Serra, Valeria;Mostallino, Rafaela;Paola Castelli, Maria;Scherma, Maria;Fadda, Paola;Melis, Miriam;Pistis, Marco
Ultimo
2023-01-01

Abstract

Prenatal infections can increase the risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia in the offspring, especially when combined with other postnatal insults. Here, we tested, in a rat model of prenatal immune challenge by the viral mimic polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidilic acid, whether maternal immune activation (MIA) affects the endocannabinoid system and endocannabinoid-mediated modulation of dopamine functions. Experiments were performed during adolescence to assess i) the behavioral endophenotype (locomotor activity, plus maze, prepulse inhibition of startle reflex); ii) the locomotor activity in response to Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and iii) the properties of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons in vivo and their response to THC; iv) endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic plasticity in VTA dopamine neurons; v) the expression of cannabinoid receptors and enzymes involved in endocannabinoid synthesis and catabolism in mesolimbic structures and vi) MIA-induced neuroinflammatory scenario evaluated by measurements of levels of cytokine and neuroinflammation markers. We revealed that MIA offspring displayed an altered locomotor activity in response to THC, a higher bursting activity of VTA dopamine neurons and a lack of response to cumulative doses of THC. Consistently, MIA adolescence offspring showed an enhanced 2-arachidonoylglycerol-mediated synaptic plasticity and decreased monoacylglycerol lipase activity in mesolimbic structures. Moreover, they displayed a higher expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) and ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 (IBA-1), associated with latent inflammation and persistent microglia activity. In conclusion, we unveiled neurobiological mechanisms whereby inflammation caused by MIA influences the proper development of endocannabinoid signaling that negatively impacts the dopamine system, eventually leading to psychotic-like symptoms in adulthood.
2023
Adolescence; Dopamine; Endocannabinoids; Maternal immune activation; Poly I:C; Schizophrenia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/354679
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