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Prior maternal separation stress alters the dendritic complexity of new hippocampal neurons and neuroinflammation in response to an inflammatory stressor in juvenile female rats
McGovern, Andrew J.
Hueston, Cara M.
O'Mahony, Siobhain M.
Cryan, John F.
O'Leary, Olivia F.
Nolan, Yvonne M.
Stress during critical periods of neurodevelopment is associated with an increased risk of developing stress-related psychiatric disorders which are more common in women than men. Hippocampal neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons) is vulnerable to maternal separation and inflammatory stressors, and emerging evidence suggests that hippocampal neurogenesis is more sensitive to stress in the ventral hippocampus (vHi) than in the dorsal hippocampus (dHi). Although research into the effects of maternal separation stress on hippocampal neurogenesis is well documented in male rodents, the effect in females remains underexplored. Similarly, reports on the impact of inflammatory stressors on hippocampal neurogenesis in females are limited, especially when female bias the in prevalence of stress-related psychiatric disorders begins to emerge. Thus, in this study we investigated the effects of maternal separation (MS) followed by an inflammatory stressor (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) in early adolescence on peripheral and hippocampal inflammatory responses and hippocampal neurogenesis in juvenile female rats. We show that MS enhanced an LPS-induced increase in the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1 β in the vHi but not in the dHi. However, microglial activation was similar following LPS alone or MS alone in both hippocampal regions, while MS prior to LPS reduced microglial activation in both dHi and vHi. The production of new neurons was unaffected by MS and LPS. MS and LPS independently reduced the dendritic complexity of new neurons, and MS exacerbated LPS-induced reductions in complexity of distal dendrites of new neurons in the vHi but not dHi. These data highlight that MS differentially primes the physiological response to LPS in the juvenile female rat hippocampus.
Maternal separation , Stress , Juvenile , Female , Hippocampal neurogenesis , Ventral hippocampus , Microglia , Immune challenge , IL-1β
Nicolas, S., McGovern, A. J., Hueston, C. M., O'Mahony, S. M., Cryan, J. F., O'Leary, O. F. and Nolan, Y. M. (2021) 'Prior maternal separation stress alters the dendritic complexity of new hippocampal neurons and neuroinflammation in response to an inflammatory stressor in juvenile female rats', Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2021.10.016