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Reduced cortical somatostatin gene expression in a rat model of maternal immune activation

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 08:00 authored by Duchatel, RJ, Harms, LR, Crystal MeehanCrystal Meehan, Michie, PT, Bigland, MJ, Smith, DW, Jobling, P, Hodgson, DM, Tooney, PA
Alterations in GABAergic interneurons and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) are observed in the brains of people with schizophrenia. Studies also show increased density of interstitial white matter neurons (IWMN), including those containing GAD and somatostatin (SST) in the brain in schizophrenia. Maternal immune activation can be modelled in rodents to investigate the relationship between prenatal exposure to infections and increased risk of developing schizophrenia. We reported that maternal immune activation induced an increase in density of somatostatin-positive IWMN in the adult rat offspring. Here we hypothesised that maternal immune activation induced in pregnant rats by polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid would alter SST and GAD gene expression as well as increase the density of GAD-positive IWMNs in the adult offspring. SST gene expression was significantly reduced in the cingulate cortex of adult offspring exposed to late gestation maternal immune activation. There was no change in cortical GAD gene expression nor GAD-positive IWMN density in adults rats exposed to maternal immune activation at either early or late gestation. This suggests that our model of maternal immune activation induced by prenatal exposure of rats to polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid during late gestation is able to recapitulate changes in SST but not other GABAergic neuropathologies observed in schizophrenia.


Publication title

Psychiatry Research








School of Psychological Sciences


Elsevier Sci Ireland Ltd

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