Interacting Impact of Maternal Inflammatory Response and Stress on the Amygdala Transcriptome of Pigs

Marissa R Keever-Keigher, Pan Zhang, Courtni R Bolt, Haley E Rymut, Adrienne M Antonson, Megan P Corbett, Alexandra K Houser, Alvaro G Hernandez, Bruce R Southey, Laurie A Rund, Rodney W Johnson, Sandra L Rodriguez-Zas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Changes at the molecular level capacitate the plasticity displayed by the brain in response to stress stimuli. Weaning stress can trigger molecular changes that influence the physiology of the offspring. Likewise, maternal immune activation (MIA) during gestation has been associated with behavior disorders and molecular changes in the amygdala of the offspring. This study advances the understanding of the effects of pre-and postnatal stressors in amygdala gene networks. The amygdala transcriptome was profiled on female and male pigs that were either exposed to viral-elicited MIA or not and were weaned or nursed. Overall, 111 genes presented interacting or independent effects of weaning, MIA or sex (FDR-adjusted P-value < 0.05). PIGY upstream reading frame (PYURF) and orthodenticle homeobox 2 (OTX2) are genes associated with MIA-related neurological disorders, and presented significant under-expression in weaned relative to nursed pigs exposed to MIA, with an opposite pattern was observed in non-MIA pigs. Enriched among the genes presenting highly over- or under-expression profiles were 24 KEGG pathways including inflammation, and neurological disorders. Our results indicate that MIA and sex can modulate the effect of weaning stress on the molecular mechanisms in the developing brain. Our findings can help identify molecular targets to ameliorate the effects of pre-and postnatal stressors on behaviors regulated by the amygdala such as aggression and feeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjkab113
JournalG3 (Bethesda, Md.)
Issue number8
Early online dateApr 15 2021
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Double-hit hypothesis
  • Gestational stress
  • RNA-seq
  • Weaning stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Interacting Impact of Maternal Inflammatory Response and Stress on the Amygdala Transcriptome of Pigs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this