Hippocampal Changes Elicited by Metabolic and Inflammatory Stressors following Prenatal Maternal Infection

Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas, Bruce R. Southey, Haley E. Rymut, Laurie A. Rund, Rodney W. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hippocampus participates in spatial navigation and behavioral processes, displays molecular plasticity in response to environmental challenges, and can play a role in neuropsychiatric diseases. The combined effects of inflammatory prenatal and postnatal challenges can disrupt the hippocampal gene networks and regulatory mechanisms. Using a proven pig model of viral maternal immune activation (MIA) matched to controls and an RNA-sequencing approach, the hippocampal transcriptome was profiled on two-month-old female and male offspring assigned to fasting, mimetic viral, or saline treatments. More than 2600 genes presented single or combined effects (FDR-adjusted p-value < 0.05) of MIA, postnatal stress, or sex. Biological processes and pathways encompassing messenger cyclic adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate (cAMP) signaling were enriched with genes including gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptor (GIPR) predominantly over-expressed in the MIA-exposed fasting males relative to groups that differed in sex, prenatal or postnatal challenge. While this pattern was amplified in fasting offspring, the postnatal inflammatory challenge appeared to cancel out the effects of the prenatal challenge. The transcription factors C-terminal binding protein 2 (CTBP2), RE1 silencing transcription factor (REST), signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1), and SUZ12 polycomb repressive complex 2 subunit were over-represented among the genes impacted by the prenatal and postnatal factors studied. Our results indicate that one environmental challenge can influence the effect of another challenge on the hippocampal transcriptome. These findings can assist in the identification of molecular targets to ameliorate the effects of pre-and post-natal stressors on hippocampal-associated physiology and behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number77
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • cAMP
  • postnatal stress
  • networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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