Perinatal fluoxetine exposure results in social deficits and reduced monoamine oxidase gene expression in mice.
Brain Res. 2019 Jun 3. Epub 2019 Jun 3. PMID: 31170382
C M Bond
Perinatal antidepressant drug exposure increases risk for autism spectrum disorder, yet the molecular and neurobehavioral effects of maternal antidepressant drug use on offspring remain poorly understood. In this study, we administered the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine non-invasively to female mice throughout gestation and early lactation, and then examined social interaction behaviors in offspring. In addition, we measured whole brain gene expression levels of monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), the primary metabolizing enzyme for serotonin. We found deficits in sociability and social novelty-seeking behavior in the juvenile offspring of SSRI-treated mice, and these behaviors persisted into young adulthood. Furthermore, we found decreased MAOA expression in the brains of offspring of SSRI-treated mice. Our findings suggest that exposure to antidepressants during the prenatal and early postnatal period may negatively affect social development. Moreover, reduced MAOA expression may play a role in the mechanistic pathway linking SSRI exposure and behavioral deficits symptomatic of autism.