Prenatal exposure to the probiotic Lactococcus lactis decreases anxiety-like behavior and modulates cortical cytoarchitecture in a sex specific manner.
ABSTRACT: Development of the cerebral cortex may be influenced by the composition of the maternal gut microbiota. To test this possibility, we administered probiotic Lactococcus lactis in drinking water to mouse dams from day 10.5 of gestation until pups reached postnatal day 1 (P1). Pups were assessed in a battery of behavioral tests starting at 10 weeks old. We found that females, but not males, exposed to probiotic during prenatal development spent more time in the center of the open field and displayed decreased freezing time in cue associated learning, compared to controls. Furthermore, we found that probiotic exposure changed the density of cortical neurons and increased the density of blood vessels in the cortical plate of P1 pups. Sex-specific differences were observed in the number of mitotic neural progenitor cells, which were increased in probiotic exposed female pups. In addition, we found that probiotic treatment in the latter half of pregnancy significantly increased plasma oxytocin levels in mouse dams, but not in the offspring. These results suggest that exposure of naïve, unstressed dams to probiotic may exert sex-specific long-term effects on cortical development and anxiety related behavior in the offspring.
Project description:2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was assessed for systemic toxicity, reproductive toxicity, developmental neurotoxicity (DNT), developmental immunotoxicity (DIT), and endocrine toxicity. CD rats (27/sex/dose) were exposed to 0, 100, 300, 600 (female), or 800 (male) ppm 2,4-D in diet. Nonlinear toxicokinetic behavior was shown at high doses; the renal clearance saturation threshold for 2,4-D was exceeded markedly in females and slightly exceeded in males. Exposure was 4 weeks premating, 7 weeks postmating for P1 males and through lactation for P1 females. F1 offspring were examined for survival and development, and at weaning, pups were divided in cohorts, by sex and dose, and by systemic toxicity (10), DNT (10), DIT (20), and reproductive toxicity (? 23). Remaining weanlings were evaluated for systemic toxicity and neuropathology (10-12). Body weight decreased during lactation in high-dose P1 females and in F1 pups. Kidney was the primary target organ, with slight degeneration of proximal convoluted tubules observed in high-dose P1 males and in high-dose F1 males and females. A slight intergenerational difference in kidney toxicity was attributed to increased intake of 2,4-D in F1 offspring. Decreased weanling testes weights and delayed preputial separation in F1 males were attributed to decreased body weights. Endocrine-related effects were limited to slight thyroid hormone changes and adaptive histopathology in high-dose GD 17 dams seen only at a nonlinear toxicokinetic dose. 2,4-D did not cause reproductive toxicity, DNT, or DIT. The "No Observed Adverse Effect Level" for systemic toxicity was 300 ppm in both males (16.6 mg/kg/day) and females (20.6 mg/kg/day), which is approximately 6700- to 93 000-fold higher than that reported for 2,4-D exposures in human biomonitoring studies.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) can cause various diseases in offspring after congenital infection. The purpose of this study was to identify disease phenotypes in pups exposed to ZIKV in utero. Female interferon-?/?, -? receptor knockout mice (AG129) were infected intraperitoneally with ZIKV 7.5 days' post coitus (dpc). Viral RNA, antigen and infectious virus were detected in some, but not all, maternal and fetal tissues at various times during gestation. Fetuses of infected dams had significant intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), which was more pronounced as females neared parturition. Pups born to infected dams were significantly smaller and had significantly shortened skull lengths, as determined by measurement with a caliper and by micro-CT analysis, as compared with age-matched controls. Growth rates of exposed pups after birth, however, was similar to sham-exposed offspring. Viral RNA was detected in pups of infected dams after birth. A lower survival rate was observed in neonates exposed to ZIKV in utero. A mortality rate of over 50%, attributed to consequences of ZIKV infection, occurred after birth in pups born to infected dams. A transient hearing loss was observed in some animals exposed to virus in utero. No motor deficits or cognitive deficits were detected using running wheel or viral paresis scoring assays. Abnormalities in offspring included smaller size, shorter skull length and increased neonatal mortality, while the only functional deficit we could detect was a low incidence of transient hearing loss.
Project description:Probiotics have shown potential for their use in early life. This study aimed to investigate whether the administration of Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 during pregnancy and lactation periods impacts maternal and offspring plasma lipid profile, immune system and microbiota. Rats were supplemented with the probiotic during gestation and two weeks of lactation. After supplementation, although the microbiota composition was not affected, the probiotic strain was detected in all cecal contents of dams and in some of their pups. Dams showed reduced proportion of T cytotoxic cells in the mesenteric lymph nodes, modulation of intestinal cytokines (IL-10 and IL-12) and changes in plasma fatty acids (20:0, 22:0, 20:5 n-3, and 18:3 n-6). Pups showed changes in immunoglobulins (intestinal IgA and plasmatic IgG2a and IgG2c) and fatty acid profile (17:0, 22:0, and 18:2 n-6). Overall, Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 supplementation contributed to beneficially modulating the immune system of the mother and its offspring.
Project description:Environmental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) affects mammary gland development in rodents and primates. Prenatal exposure to environmentally relevant doses of BPA increased the number of intraductal hyperplasias and ductal carcinomas in situ by 50 days of age in Wistar-Furth rats.We aimed to determine whether BPA exposure of dams during gestation only or throughout lactation affects the incidence of mammary gland neoplasia in female offspring.We treated pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats with BPA at 0, 0.25, 2.5, 25, or 250 ?g BPA/kg BW/day from gestational day (GD) 9 to birth and from GD9 to postnatal day (PND) 21. Mammary glands from BPA-exposed offspring were examined at four time points for preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions. To assess circulating BPA levels, we exposed pregnant rats to vehicle or 250 ?g BPA/kg BW/day during gestation only or during gestation/lactation and analyzed sera from dams, fetuses, and nursing pups for total and unconjugated BPA.Total and unconjugated BPA were detected in sera from 100% of dams and fetuses and 33% of pups exposed to 250 ?g BPA/kg BW/day. Unconjugated BPA levels in exposed dams and fetuses (gestational) and in exposed dams and pups (gestational/lactational) were within levels found in humans. Preneoplastic lesions developed in BPA-exposed female offspring across all doses as early as PND50. Unexpectedly, mammary gland adenocarcinomas developed in BPA-exposed offspring by PND90.Our findings suggest that developmental exposure to environmentally relevant levels of BPA during gestation and lactation induces mammary gland neoplasms in the absence of any additional carcinogenic treatment. Thus, BPA may act as a complete mammary gland carcinogen.
Project description:Anxiety disorders and depression are well-documented in subjects exposed to adverse childhood events. Recently, maternal obesity and/or maternal consumption of high-fat diets (HFD) have been also proposed as risk factors for offspring mental health. Here using an animal model in rats, we explored the combinatorial effects of a maternal HFD (40% of energy from fat without impact on maternal weight; during gestation and lactation) and maternal separation (MS) in offspring. In the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of pups, MS led to changes in the expression of several genes such as Bdnf (brain derived neurotrophic factor), 5HT-r1a (serotonin receptor 1a) and Rest4 (neuron-restrictive silencer element, repressor element 1, silencing transcription factor (Rest), splicing variant 4). Surprisingly, perinatal HFD strongly attenuated the developmental alterations induced by MS. Furthermore, maternal HFD totally prevented the endophenotypes (anxiety, spatial memory, social behavior, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to stress, hippocampal neurogenesis and visceral pain) associated with MS at adulthood. Finally, we also demonstrated that HFD intake reduced anxiety and enhanced maternal care in stressed dams. Overall, our data suggest that a HFD restricted to gestation and lactation, which did not lead to overweight in dams, had limited effects in unstressed offspring, highlighting the role of maternal obesity, rather than fat exposure per se, on brain vulnerability during development.
Project description:Maternal diet is associated with the development of metabolism-related and other non-communicable diseases in offspring. Underlying mechanisms, functional profiles, and molecular markers are only starting to be revealed. Here, we explored the physiological and molecular impact of maternal Western-style diet on the liver of male and female offspring. C57BL/6 dams were exposed to either a low fat/low cholesterol diet (LFD) or a Western-style high fat/high cholesterol diet (WSD) for six weeks before mating, as well as during gestation and lactation. Dams and offspring were sacrificed at postnatal day 14, and body, liver, and blood parameters were assessed. The impact of maternal WSD on the pups' liver gene expression was characterised by whole-transcriptome microarray analysis. Exclusively male offspring had significantly higher body weight upon maternal WSD. In offspring of both sexes of WSD dams, liver and blood parameters, as well as hepatic gene expression profiles were changed. In total, 686 and 604 genes were differentially expressed in liver (p?0.01) of males and females, respectively. Only 10% of these significantly changed genes overlapped in both sexes. In males, in particular alterations of gene expression with respect to developmental functions and processes were observed, such as Wnt/beta-catenin signalling. In females, mainly genes important for lipid metabolism, including cholesterol synthesis, were changed. We conclude that maternal WSD affects physiological parameters and induces substantial changes in the molecular profile of the liver in two-week-old pups. Remarkably, the observed biological responses of the offspring reveal pronounced sex-specificity.
Project description:Maternal obesity and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are associated with obesity and diabetes risk in offspring. We tested whether maternal insulin resistance, which frequently coexists with GDM and obesity, could independently contribute to dysregulation of offspring metabolism. Female mice haploinsufficient for insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS1-het) are hyperinsulinemic and insulin resistant during pregnancy, despite normal plasma glucose and body weight, and thus serve as a model of isolated maternal insulin resistance. Wild-type (WT) offspring of IRS1-het dams insulin resistance-exposed [IR-exposed] were compared with WT offspring of WT dams. Despite no differences in adiposity, male IR-exposed pups were glucose intolerant (P = 0.04) and hyperinsulinemic (1.3-fold increase, P = 0.02) by 1 month of age and developed progressive fasting hyperglycemia. Moreover, male IR-exposed pups challenged with high-fat diet exhibited insulin resistance. Liver lipidomic analysis of 3-week-old IR-exposed males revealed increases in the 16:1n7 fraction of several lipid classes, suggesting increased Scd1 activity. By 6 months of age, IR-exposed males had increased lipid accumulation in liver as well as increased plasma refed fatty acids, consistent with disrupted lipid metabolism. Our results indicate that isolated maternal insulin resistance, even in the absence of hyperglycemia or obesity, can promote metabolic perturbations in male offspring.
Project description:Necrotizing enterocolitis is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in premature neonates. This disease is characterized by massive epithelial necrosis, gut barrier dysfunction and improper mucosal defense development. Studies have shown that probiotic administration can decrease NEC incidence and mortality. The proposed mechanisms of probiotics for the prevention of NEC are: promotion of intestinal development; improved barrier function through decreased apoptosis and improved mucin production; decreased expression of proinflammatory cytokines IL6, IL8, and TNF?, and modulation of microbiota dysbiosis in preterm infants. However, reported sepsis in the immunocompromised preterm host has deterred routine prophylactic administration of probiotics in the neonatal intensive care unit. We hypothesize that maternal administration of probiotics to pregnant mouse dams can recapitulate the beneficial effects observed in neonates fed with probiotics directly. We exposed pregnant mice to the probiotics and monitored the changes in the developing intestines of the offspring. Pregnant mice were fed daily with the probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium infantis (LB) from embryonic day15 to 2-week-old postnatally. Intraperitoneal administration of IL-1? in the pups was used to model proinflammatory insults. Sera were collected at 2 weeks of age and evaluated for inflammatory cytokines by enzyme-linked-immunosorbent-assay and gut permeability by Fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran tracer assay. Ileal tissues were collected for the evaluation of apoptosis and proliferation of the intestinal epithelium; as well as mucin and tight junction integrity at mucosal surface by immunofluorescent staining. We find that maternal LB exposure facilitated intestinal epithelial cell differentiation, prevented loss of mucin and preserved the intestinal integrity and barrier function and decreased serum levels of IL-1?, TNF-? and IL-6 in the preweaned offsprings. in LB exposed pups. We demonstrate that maternal probiotic supplementation promotes gut maturation in developing offspring. This is potentially a safe alternative therapy to induce intestinal maturation and prevent prematurity-associated neonatal disorders.
Project description:The current obesity epidemic has spurred exploration of the developmental origin of adult heath and disease. A mother's dietary choices and health can affect both the early wellbeing and lifelong disease-risk of the offspring.To determine if changes in the mother's diet and adiposity have long-term effects on the baby's metabolism, independently from a prenatal insult, we utilized a mouse model of diet-induced-obesity and cross-fostering. All pups were born to lean dams fed a low fat diet but were fostered onto lean or obese dams fed a high fat diet. This study design allowed us to discern the effects of a poor diet from those of mother's adiposity and metabolism. The weaned offspring were placed on a high fat diet to test their metabolic function.In this feeding challenge, all male (but not female) offspring developed metabolic dysfunction. We saw increased weight gain in the pups nursed on an obesity-resistant dam fed a high fat diet, and increased pathogenesis including liver steatosis and adipose tissue inflammation, when compared to pups nursed on either obesity-prone dams on a high fat diet or lean dams on a low fat diet.Exposure to maternal over-nutrition, through the milk, is sufficient to shape offspring health outcomes in a sex- and organ-specific manner, and milk from a mother who is obesity-prone may partially protect the offspring from the insult of a poor diet.
Project description:In mammals, mothers are the primary caregiver, programmed, in part, by hormones produced during pregnancy. High-quality maternal care is essential for the survival and lifelong health of offspring. We previously showed that the paternally silenced imprinted gene pleckstrin homology-like domain family A member 2 (Phlda2) functions to negatively regulate a single lineage in the mouse placenta called the spongiotrophoblast, a major source of hormones in pregnancy. Consequently, the offspring's Phlda2 gene dosage may influence the quality of care provided by the mother. Here, we show that wild-type (WT) female mice exposed to offspring with three different doses of the maternally expressed Phlda2 gene-two active alleles, one active allele (the extant state), and loss of function-show changes in the maternal hypothalamus and hippocampus during pregnancy, regions important for maternal-care behaviour. After birth, WT dams exposed in utero to offspring with the highest Phlda2 dose exhibit decreased nursing and grooming of pups and increased focus on nest building. Conversely, 'paternalised' dams, exposed to the lowest Phlda2 dose, showed increased nurturing of their pups, increased self-directed behaviour, and a decreased focus on nest building, behaviour that was robustly maintained in the absence of genetically modified pups. This work raises the intriguing possibility that imprinting of Phlda2 contributed to increased maternal care during the evolution of mammals.