Background: Recent evidence suggests that exposure to intrauterine inflammation causes acute fetal brain injury and is linked to a spectrum of neurobehavioral disorders. In a rodent model of intrauterine inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure in utero, activated microglia can be detected in the hippocampus of offspring survivors, as late as 60 days postnatal (DPN). Given that the hippocampus is important for learning and memory, these results suggest that in utero inflammation underlies long-term cognitive deficits observed in children/survivors. Methods: An established mouse model of LPS-induced intrauterine inflammation was used to study hippocampal function from offspring at 44-59 DPN. Microgliosis was examined at 45 DPN. Extracellular field recordings of synaptic transmission were performed on acute hippocampal slices. Results: LPS offspring mice displayed persistent microglial activation and increased CA3-CA1 excitatory synaptic strength, which can be explained in part by an increase in the probability of glutamate release, and reduced long-term synaptic potentiation compared to control mice. Conclusions: These results offer a mechanistic explanation for the cognitive and behavioral deficits observed in survivors of preterm birth caused by intrauterine inflammation.
- Intrauterine inflammation
- Long-term synaptic potentiation
- Synaptic transmission
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience