Maternal immune activation induces adolescent cognitive deficits preceded by developmental perturbations in cortical reelin signalling

Rebecca Woods, Jarred Lorusso, Isabella Harris, Hager Kowash, C Murgatroyd, Joanna Neill, Jocelyn Glazier, Michael Harte, Reinmar Hager

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Abstract

Exposure to maternal immune activation (MIA) in utero significantly elevates the risk of developing schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders. To understand the biological mechanisms underlying the link between MIA and increased risk, preclinical animal models have focussed on specific signalling pathways in the brain that mediate symptoms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as cognitive dysfunction. Reelin signalling in multiple brain regions is involved in neuronal migration, synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation, and has been implicated in cognitive deficits. However, how regulation of Reelin expression is affected by MIA across cortical development and associated cognitive functions remains largely unclear. Using a MIA rat model, here we demonstrate cognitive deficits in adolescent object-location memory in MIA offspring and reductions in Reln expression prenatally and in the adult prefrontal cortex. Further, developmental disturbances in gene/protein expression and DNA methylation of downstream signalling components occurred subsequent to MIA-induced Reelin dysregulation and prior to cognitive deficits. We propose that MIA-induced dysregulation of Reelin signalling contributes to the emergence of prefrontal cortex-mediated cognitive deficits through altered NMDA receptor function, resulting in inefficient long-term potentiation. Our data suggest a developmental window during which attenuation of Reelin signalling may provide a possible therapeutic target.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-516
JournalBiomolecules
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • material immune activation
  • schizophrenia
  • Reelin
  • Epigenetics

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