Key role of soluble epoxide hydrolase in the neurodevelopmental disorders of offspring after maternal immune activation.
ABSTRACT: Maternal infection during pregnancy increases risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring. In rodents, maternal immune activation (MIA) yields offspring with schizophrenia- and ASD-like behavioral abnormalities. Soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) plays a key role in inflammation associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Here we found higher levels of sEH in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of juvenile offspring after MIA. Oxylipin analysis showed decreased levels of epoxy fatty acids in the PFC of juvenile offspring after MIA, supporting increased activity of sEH in the PFC of juvenile offspring. Furthermore, expression of sEH (or EPHX2) mRNA in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurospheres from schizophrenia patients with the 22q11.2 deletion was higher than that of healthy controls. Moreover, the expression of EPHX2 mRNA in postmortem brain samples (Brodmann area 9 and 40) from ASD patients was higher than that of controls. Treatment with 1-trifluoromethoxyphenyl-3-(1-propionylpiperidin-4-yl)urea (TPPU), a potent sEH inhibitor, in juvenile offspring from prenatal day (P) 28 to P56 could prevent cognitive deficits and loss of parvalbumin (PV) immunoreactivity in the medial PFC of adult offspring after MIA. In addition, dosing of TPPU to pregnant mothers from E5 to P21 could prevent cognitive deficits, and social interaction deficits and PV immunoreactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex of juvenile offspring after MIA. These findings suggest that increased activity of sEH in the PFC plays a key role in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring after MIA. Therefore, sEH represents a promising prophylactic or therapeutic target for neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring after MIA.
Project description:Epidemiological studies suggest that exposure to herbicides during pregnancy might increase risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring. However, the precise mechanisms underlying the risk of ASD by herbicides such as glyphosate remain unclear. Soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) in the metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids is shown to play a key role in the development of ASD in offspring after maternal immune activation. Here, we found ASD-like behavioral abnormalities in juvenile offspring after maternal exposure to high levels of formulated glyphosate. Furthermore, we found higher levels of sEH in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), hippocampus, and striatum of juvenile offspring, and oxylipin analysis showed decreased levels of epoxy-fatty acids such as 8 (9)-EpETrE in the blood, PFC, hippocampus, and striatum of juvenile offspring after maternal glyphosate exposure, supporting increased activity of sEH in the offspring. Moreover, we found abnormal composition of gut microbiota and short-chain fatty acids in fecal samples of juvenile offspring after maternal glyphosate exposure. Interestingly, oral administration of TPPU (an sEH inhibitor) to pregnant mothers from E5 to P21 prevented ASD-like behaviors such as social interaction deficits and increased grooming time in the juvenile offspring after maternal glyphosate exposure. These findings suggest that maternal exposure to high levels of glyphosate causes ASD-like behavioral abnormalities and abnormal composition of gut microbiota in juvenile offspring, and that increased activity of sEH might play a role in ASD-like behaviors in offspring after maternal glyphosate exposure. Therefore, sEH may represent a target for ASD in offspring after maternal stress from occupational exposure to contaminants.
Project description:Maternal immune activation (MIA) contributes to behavioral abnormalities relevant to schizophrenia in adult offspring, although the molecular mechanisms underlying MIA-induced behavioral changes remain unclear. Here we demonstrated that dietary intake of glucoraphanin (GF), the precursor of a natural antioxidant sulforaphane, during juvenile and adolescent stages prevented cognitive deficits and loss of parvalbumin (PV) immunoreactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of adult offspring after MIA. Gene set enrichment analysis by RNA sequencing showed that MIA caused abnormal expression of centrosome-related genes in the PFC and hippocampus of adult offspring, and that dietary intake of GF improved these abnormal gene expressions. Particularly, MIA increased the expression of suppressor of fermentation-induced loss of stress resistance protein 1 (Sfi1) mRNA in the PFC and hippocampus of adult offspring, and dietary intake of GF prevented the expression of Sfi1 mRNA in these regions. Interestingly, we found altered expression of SFI1 in the postmortem brains and SFI1 mRNA in hair follicle cells from patients with schizophrenia compared with controls. Overall, these data suggest that centrosome-related genes may play a role in the onset of psychosis in offspring after MIA. Therefore, dietary intake of GF-rich vegetables in high-risk psychosis subjects may prevent the transition to psychosis in young adulthood.
Project description:<b>Aim: </b>Epidemiological data suggest that maternal immune activation (MIA) plays a role in the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia. However, there is no prophylactic nutrition that can prevent the onset of neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring after MIA. The aim of this study was undertaken to examine whether dietary intake of glucoraphanin (GF: the precursor of a natural anti-inflammatory compound sulforaphane) can prevent the onset of behavioral abnormalities in offspring after MIA.<br><br><b>Methods: </b>One percent of GF food pellet or normal food pellet was given into female mice during pregnancy and lactation (from E5 to P21). Saline (5 mL/kg/d) or poly(I:C) (5 mg/kg/d) was injected into pregnant mice from E12 to E17. Behavioral tests and immunohistochemistry of parvalbumin (PV) were performed in male offspring.<br><br><b>Results: </b>Dietary intake of GF during pregnancy and lactation prevented cognitive deficits and social interaction deficits in the juvenile offspring after MIA. Furthermore, dietary intake of GF during pregnancy and lactation prevented cognitive deficits in the adult offspring after MIA. Moreover, dietary intake of GF prevented the reduction of PV immunoreactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex of adult offspring after MIA.<br><br><b>Conclusion: </b>These data suggest that dietary intake of GF during pregnancy and lactation could prevent behavioral abnormalities in offspring after MIA.
Project description:Maternal infection during pregnancy increases the risk for schizophrenia in offspring. In rodent models, maternal immune activation (MIA) yields offspring with schizophrenia-like behaviors. None of these behaviors are, however, specific to schizophrenia. The presence of hallucinations is a key diagnostic symptom of schizophrenia. In mice, this symptom can be defined as brain activation in the absence of external stimuli, which can be mimicked by administration of hallucinogens. We find that, compared with controls, adult MIA offspring display an increased stereotypical behavioral response to the hallucinogen 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI), an agonist for serotonin receptor 2A (5-HT2AR). This may be explained by increased levels of 5-HT2AR and downstream signaling molecules in unstimulated MIA prefrontal cortex (PFC). Using manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging to identify neuronal activation elicited by DOI administration, we find that, compared with controls, MIA offspring exhibit a greater manganese (Mn(2+)) accumulation in several brain areas, including the PFC, thalamus, and striatum. The parafascicular thalamic nucleus, which plays the role in the pathogenesis of hallucinations, is activated by DOI in MIA offspring only. Additionally, compared with controls, MIA offspring demonstrate higher DOI-induced expression of early growth response protein 1, cyclooxygenase-2, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the PFC. Chronic treatment with the 5-HT2AR antagonist ketanserin reduces DOI-induced head twitching in MIA offspring. Thus, the MIA mouse model can be successfully used to investigate activity induced by DOI in awake, behaving mice. Moreover, manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging is a useful, noninvasive method for accurately measuring this type of activity.
Project description:Despite the substantial progress made in identifying genetic defects in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the etiology for majority of ASD individuals remains elusive. Maternal exposure to valproic acid (VPA), a commonly prescribed antiepileptic drug during pregnancy in human, has long been considered a risk factor to contribute to ASD susceptibility in offspring from epidemiological studies in humans. The similar exposures in murine models have provided tentative evidence to support the finding from human epidemiology. However, the apparent difference between rodent and human poses a significant challenge to extrapolate the findings from rodent models to humans. Here we report for the first time the neurodevelopmental and behavioral outcomes of maternal VPA exposure in non-human primates. Monkey offspring from the early maternal VPA exposure have significantly reduced NeuN-positive mature neurons in prefrontal cortex (PFC) and cerebellum and the Ki67-positive proliferating neuronal precursors in the cerebellar external granular layer, but increased GFAP-positive astrocytes in PFC. Transcriptome analyses revealed that maternal VPA exposure disrupted the expression of genes associated with neurodevelopment in embryonic brain in offspring. VPA-exposed juvenile offspring have variable presentations of impaired social interaction, pronounced stereotypies, and more attention on nonsocial stimuli by eye tracking analysis. Our findings in non-human primates provide the best evidence so far to support causal link between maternal VPA exposure and neurodevelopmental defects and ASD susceptibility in humans.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Epidemiological studies suggest that the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia is increased by prenatal exposure to viral or bacterial infection during pregnancy. It is still unclear how activation of the maternal immune response interacts with underlying genetic factors to influence observed ASD phenotypes. METHODS:The current study investigated how maternal immune activation (MIA) in mice impacts gene expression in the frontal cortex in adulthood, and how these molecular changes relate to deficits in cognitive flexibility and social behavior, and increases in repetitive behavior that are prevalent in ASD. Poly(I:C) (20?mg/kg) was administered to dams on E12.5 and offspring were tested for social approach behavior, repetitive grooming, and probabilistic reversal learning in adulthood (n?=?8 vehicle; n?=?9 Poly(I:C)). We employed next-generation high-throughput mRNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to comprehensively investigate the transcriptome profile in frontal cortex of adult offspring of Poly(I:C)-exposed dams. RESULTS:Exposure to poly(I:C) during gestation impaired probabilistic reversal learning and decreased social approach in MIA offspring compared to controls. We found long-term effects of MIA on expression of 24 genes, including genes involved in glutamatergic neurotransmission, mTOR signaling and potassium ion channel activity. Correlations between gene expression and specific behavioral measures provided insight into genes that may be responsible for ASD-like behavioral alterations. CONCLUSIONS:These findings suggest that MIA can lead to impairments in cognitive flexibility in mice similar to those exhibited in ASD individuals, and that these impairments are associated with altered gene expression in frontal cortex.
Project description:Neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are defined by core behavioral impairments; however, subsets of individuals display a spectrum of gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities. We demonstrate GI barrier defects and microbiota alterations in the maternal immune activation (MIA) mouse model that is known to display features of ASD. Oral treatment of MIA offspring with the human commensal Bacteroides fragilis corrects gut permeability, alters microbial composition, and ameliorates defects in communicative, stereotypic, anxiety-like and sensorimotor behaviors. MIA offspring display an altered serum metabolomic profile, and B. fragilis modulates levels of several metabolites. Treating naive mice with a metabolite that is increased by MIA and restored by B. fragilis causes certain behavioral abnormalities, suggesting that gut bacterial effects on the host metabolome impact behavior. Taken together, these findings support a gut-microbiome-brain connection in a mouse model of ASD and identify a potential probiotic therapy for GI and particular behavioral symptoms in human neurodevelopmental disorders.
Project description:Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder, and the exact causal mechanism is unknown. Dysregulated allele-specific expression (ASE) has been identified in persons with ASD; however, a comprehensive analysis of ASE has not been conducted in a family quartet with ASD. To fill this gap, we analyzed ASE using genomic DNA from parent and offspring and RNA from offspring's postmortem prefrontal cortex (PFC); one of the two offspring had been diagnosed with ASD. DNA- and RNA-sequencing revealed distinct ASE patterns from the PFC of both offspring. However, only the PFC of the offspring with ASD exhibited a mono-to-biallelic switch for LRP2BP and ZNF407. We also identified a novel site of RNA-editing in KMT2C in addition to new monoallelically-expressed genes and miRNAs. Our results demonstrate the prevalence of ASE in human PFC and ASE abnormalities in the PFC of a person with ASD. Taken together, these findings may provide mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of ASD.
Project description:Both genetic and environmental factors are thought to contribute to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders with maternal immune activation (MIA) being a risk factor for both autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. Although MIA mouse offspring exhibit behavioral impairments, the synaptic alterations in vivo that mediate these behaviors are not known. Here we employed in vivo multiphoton imaging to determine that in the cortex of young MIA offspring there is a reduction in number and turnover rates of dendritic spines, sites of majority of excitatory synaptic inputs. Significantly, spine impairments persisted into adulthood and correlated with increased repetitive behavior, an ASD relevant behavioral phenotype. Structural analysis of synaptic inputs revealed a reorganization of presynaptic inputs with a larger proportion of spines being contacted by both excitatory and inhibitory presynaptic terminals. These structural impairments were accompanied by altered excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission. Finally, we report that a postnatal treatment of MIA offspring with the anti-inflammatory drug ibudilast, prevented both synaptic and behavioral impairments. Our results suggest that a possible altered inflammatory state associated with maternal immune activation results in impaired synaptic development that persists into adulthood but which can be prevented with early anti-inflammatory treatment.
Project description:Background: Altered white matter connectivity, as evidenced by pervasive microstructural changes in myelination and axonal integrity in neuroimaging studies, has been implicated in the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related neurodevelopmental conditions such as schizophrenia. Despite an increasing appreciation that such white matter disconnectivity is linked to social behavior deficits, virtually no etiologically meaningful myelin-related genes have been identified in oligodendrocytes, the key myelinating cells in the CNS, to furnish an account on the causes. The impact of neurodevelopmental perturbations during pregnancy such as maternal immune activation (MIA) on these genes in memory-related neural networks has not been experimentally scrutinized. Methods: In this study, a mouse model of MIA by the viral dsRNA analog poly(I:C) was employed to mimic the effects of inflammation during pregnancy. Transcriptional expression levels of selected myelin- or oligodendroglia-related genes implicated in schizophrenia or ASD development were analyzed by in situ hybridization (ISH) and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) with brain samples from MIA and control groups. The analysis focused on SOX-10 (SRY-related HMG-box 10), MAG (myelin-associated glycoprotein), and Tf (transferrin) expression in the hippocampus and the surrounding memory-related cortical regions in either hemisphere. Results: Specifically, ISH reveals that in the brain of prenatal poly(I:C)-exposed mouse offspring in the MIA model (gestation day 9), mRNA expression of the genes SOX10, MAG and Tf were generally reduced in the limbic system including the hippocampus, retrosplenial cortex and parahippocampal gyrus on either side of the hemispheres. qRT-PCR further confirms the reduction of SOX10, MAG, and Tf expression in the medial prefrontal cortex, sensory cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus. Conclusions: Our present results provide direct evidence that prenatal exposure to poly(I:C) elicits profound and long-term changes in transcript level and spatial distribution of myelin-related genes in multiple neocortical and limbic regions, notably the hippocampus and its surrounding memory-related neural networks. Our work demonstrates the potential utility of oligodendroglia-related genes as biomarkers for modeling neurodevelopmental disorders, in agreement with the hypothesis that MIA during pregnancy could lead to compromised white matter connectivity in ASD.