Prenatal zinc supplementation attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced behavioral impairments in maternal immune activation model.
Behav Brain Res. 2019 Sep 20 ;377:112247. Epub 2019 Sep 20. PMID: 31545978
Maternal infection during pregnancy is considered a key risk factor for developing schizophrenia in offspring. There is evidence that maternal exposure to infectious agents is associated with fetal zinc deficiency. Due to the essential role of zinc in brain function and development, in the present study, we activated maternal immune system using lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as a model of schizophrenia to examine whether zinc supplementation throughout pregnancy can reverse LPS-induced deleterious effects. To test the hypothesis, pregnant rats were treated with intraperitoneal injection of either saline or LPS (0.5 mg/kg) at gestational day 15 and 16, and zinc supplementation (30 mg/kg) was administered throughout pregnancy by gavage. At postnatal day 60, Y-maze was used to evaluate working memory of offspring. Moreover, the expression levels of catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) and glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) were measured in the frontal cortex of the brain samples. Only male offspring prenatally exposed to LPS showed a significant impairment in working memory. In addition, prenatal LPS exposure causes a moderate decrease in GAD67 expression level in the male pups, while COMT expression was found unchanged. Interestingly, zinc supplementation restored the alterations in working memory as well as GAD67 mRNA level in the male rats. No alteration was detected for neither working memory nor COMT/GAD67 genes expression in female offspring. This study demonstrates that zinc supplementationduring pregnancy can attenuate LPS-induced impairments in male pups. These results support the idea to consume zinc supplementation during pregnancy to limit neurodevelopmental deficits induced by infections in offspring.