Human and animal cross-sectional studies have shown that maternal levels of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) may compromise brain phenotypes assessed at single time points. However, how maternal IL-6 associates with the trajectory of brain development remains unclear. We investigated whether maternal IL-6 levels during pregnancy relate to offspring amygdala volume development and anxiety-like behavior in Japanese macaques. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was administered to 39 Japanese macaque offspring (Female: 18), providing at least one or more time points at 4, 11, 21, and 36 months of age with a behavioral assessment at 11 months of age. Increased maternal third trimester plasma IL-6 levels were associated with offspring's smaller left amygdala volume at 4 months, but with more rapid amygdala growth from 4 to 36 months. Maternal IL-6 predicted offspring anxiety-like behavior at 11 months, which was mediated by reduced amygdala volumes in the model's intercept (i.e., 4 months). The results increase our understanding of the role of maternal inflammation in the development of neurobehavioral disorders by detailing the associations of a commonly examined inflammatory indicator, IL-6, on amygdala volume growth over time, and anxiety-like behavior.
- maternal environment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience