Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) increases aggression and modulates maternal behavior in offspring mice.
Dev Psychobiol. 2015 Sep 4. Epub 2015 Sep 4. PMID: 26336834
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs in pregnant women. SSRIs cross the placental barrier and affect serotonergic neurotransmission in the fetus. Although no gross SSRI-related teratogenic effects were reported, infants born following prenatal exposure to SSRIs are at higher risk for various developmental abnormalities. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of prenatal SSRI on social and maternal behavior in mice. To this end, pregnant female dams were exposed to saline or fluoxetine (FLX) throughout pregnancy, and the behavior of the offspring was examined. The results indicate that in utero FLX increased aggression in adult males and delayed emergence of maternal behavior in adult females. Social exploration and recognition memory were not affected by prenatal FLX exposure. These findings support the notion that alterations in the development of serotonergic pathways following prenatal exposure to SSRIs are associated with changes in social and maternal behavior throughout life.© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © Dev Psychobiol.