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Transgenerational transmission and modification of pathological traits induced by prenatal immune activation


Weber-Stadlbauer, U; Richetto, J; Labouesse, M A; Bohacek, J; Mansuy, I M; Meyer, U (2017). Transgenerational transmission and modification of pathological traits induced by prenatal immune activation. Molecular Psychiatry, 22(1):102-112.

Abstract

Prenatal exposure to infectious or inflammatory insults is increasingly recognized to contribute to the etiology of psychiatric disorders with neurodevelopmental components, including schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder. It remains unknown, however, if such immune-mediated brain anomalies can be transmitted to subsequent generations. Using an established mouse model of prenatal immune activation by the viral mimetic poly(I:C), we show that reduced sociability and increased cued fear expression are similarly present in the first- and second-generation offspring of immune-challenged ancestors. We further demonstrate that sensorimotor gating impairments are confined to the direct descendants of infected mothers, whereas increased behavioral despair emerges as a novel phenotype in the second generation. These transgenerational effects are mediated via the paternal lineage and are stable until the third generation, demonstrating transgenerational non-genetic inheritance of pathological traits following in-utero immune activation. Next-generation sequencing further demonstrated unique and overlapping genome-wide transcriptional changes in first- and second-generation offspring of immune-challenged ancestors. These transcriptional effects mirror the transgenerational effects on behavior, showing that prenatal immune activation leads to a transgenerational transmission (presence of similar phenotypes across generations) and modification (presence of distinct phenotypes across generations) of pathological traits. Together, our study demonstrates for, we believe, the first time that prenatal immune activation can negatively affect brain and behavioral functions in multiple generations. These findings thus highlight a novel pathological aspect of this early-life adversity in shaping disease risk across generations.

Abstract

Prenatal exposure to infectious or inflammatory insults is increasingly recognized to contribute to the etiology of psychiatric disorders with neurodevelopmental components, including schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder. It remains unknown, however, if such immune-mediated brain anomalies can be transmitted to subsequent generations. Using an established mouse model of prenatal immune activation by the viral mimetic poly(I:C), we show that reduced sociability and increased cued fear expression are similarly present in the first- and second-generation offspring of immune-challenged ancestors. We further demonstrate that sensorimotor gating impairments are confined to the direct descendants of infected mothers, whereas increased behavioral despair emerges as a novel phenotype in the second generation. These transgenerational effects are mediated via the paternal lineage and are stable until the third generation, demonstrating transgenerational non-genetic inheritance of pathological traits following in-utero immune activation. Next-generation sequencing further demonstrated unique and overlapping genome-wide transcriptional changes in first- and second-generation offspring of immune-challenged ancestors. These transcriptional effects mirror the transgenerational effects on behavior, showing that prenatal immune activation leads to a transgenerational transmission (presence of similar phenotypes across generations) and modification (presence of distinct phenotypes across generations) of pathological traits. Together, our study demonstrates for, we believe, the first time that prenatal immune activation can negatively affect brain and behavioral functions in multiple generations. These findings thus highlight a novel pathological aspect of this early-life adversity in shaping disease risk across generations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:25 Jan 2017 11:21
Last Modified:25 Jan 2017 11:21
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1359-4184
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2016.41
PubMed ID:27021823

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