University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Effects of immune activation during early or late gestation on schizophrenia-related behaviour in adult rat offspring

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 18:42 authored by Crystal MeehanCrystal Meehan, Harms, L, Frost, JD, Barreto, R, Todd, J, Schall, U, Shannon Weickert, C, Zavitsanou, K, Michie, PT, Hodgson, DM
Maternal exposure to infectious agents during gestation has been identified as a significant risk factor for schizophrenia. Using a mouse model, past work has demonstrated that the gestational timing of the immune-activating event can impact the behavioural phenotype and expression of dopaminergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission markers in the offspring. In order to determine the inter-species generality of this effect to rats, another commonly used model species, the current study investigated the impact of a viral mimetic Poly (I:C) at either an early (gestational day 10) or late (gestational day 19) time-point on schizophrenia-related behaviour and neurotransmitter receptor expression in rat offspring. Exposure to Poly (I:C) in late, but not early, gestation resulted in transient impairments in working memory. In addition, male rats exposed to maternal immune activation (MIA) in either early or late gestation exhibited sensorimotor gating deficits. Conversely, neither early nor late MIA exposure altered locomotor responses to MK-801 or amphetamine. In addition, increased dopamine 1 receptor mRNA levels were found in the nucleus accumbens of male rats exposed to early gestational MIA. The findings from this study diverge somewhat from previous findings in mice with MIA exposure, which were often found to exhibit a more comprehensive spectrum of schizophrenia-like phenotypes in both males and females, indicating potential differences in the neurodevelopmental vulnerability to MIA exposure in the rat with regards to schizophrenia related changes.


Publication title

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity






School of Psychological Sciences


Academic Press Inc Elsevier Science

Place of publication

525 B St, Ste 1900, San Diego, USA, Ca, 92101-4495

Rights statement

Copyright? 2016 Published by Elsevier Inc.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health