Influence of Maternal Immune Activation and Stressors on the Hippocampal Metabolome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prenatal stress often results in maternal immune activation (MIA) that can impact prenatal brain development, molecular processes, and substrates and products of metabolism that participate in physiological processes at later stages of life. Postnatal metabolic and immunological stressors can affect brain metabolites later in life, independently or in combination with prenatal stressors. The effects of prenatal and postnatal stressors on hippocampal metabolites were studied using a pig model of viral MIA exposed to immunological and metabolic stressors at 60 days of age using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Postnatal stress and MIA elicited effects (FDR-adjusted p-value < 0.1) on fifty-nine metabolites, while eight metabolites exhibited an interaction effect. The hippocampal metabolites impacted by MIA or postnatal stress include 4-aminobutanoate (GABA), adenine, fumarate, glutamate, guanine, inosine, ornithine, putrescine, pyruvate, and xanthine. Metabolites affected by MIA or postnatal stress encompassed eight significantly (FDR-adjusted p-value < 0.1) enriched Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes Database (KEGG) pathways. The enriched arginine biosynthesis and glutathione metabolism pathways included metabolites that are also annotated for the urea cycle and polyamine biosynthesis pathways. Notably, the prenatal and postnatal challenges were associated with disruption of the glutathione metabolism pathway and changes in the levels of glutamic acid, glutamate, and purine nucleotide metabolites that resemble patterns elicited by drugs of abuse and may underlie neuroinflammatory processes. The combination of MIA and postnatal stressors also supported the double-hit hypothesis, where MIA amplifies the impact of stressors later in life, sensitizing the hippocampus of the offspring to future challenges. The metabolites and pathways characterized in this study offer evidence of the role of immunometabolism in understanding the impact of MIA and stressors later in life on memory, spatial navigation, neuropsychiatric disorders, and behavioral disorders influenced by the hippocampus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number881
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • metabolite
  • immunometabolism
  • maternal immune activation
  • mass spectrometry
  • gas chromatography
  • hippocampus
  • metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of Maternal Immune Activation and Stressors on the Hippocampal Metabolome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this