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Early Maternal Deprivation Induces Microglial Activation, Alters Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Immunoreactivity and Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase during the Development of Offspring Rats


Early Maternal Deprivation Induces Microglial Activation, Alters Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Immunoreactivity and Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase during the Development of Offspring Rats



Molecular Neurobiology 56(2): 1096-1108



ISSN/ISBN: 0893-7648

PMID: 29873040

DOI: 10.1007/s12035-018-1161-2

Maternal deprivation (MD) induces behavioral changes and impacts brain circuits that could be associated with the pathophysiology of depression. This study investigated the markers of microglia and astrocyte activation as well as indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) expression in developmental programming after early life MD (on postnatal days (PNDs) 20, 30, 40, and 60). On PND 60, the rats that were subjected to MD displayed depressive-like behavior. On PND 10, it was found that there was a decrease in the level of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunopositive cells, a decrease in the level of IDO expression, and an increase in the level of Iba-1 (microglial marker) in the hippocampus of rats that were subjected to MD. On PND 20, levels of GFAP were also found to have decreased in the hippocampus, and there was an increase in the level of Iba-1 in the hippocampus. AIF-1 (microglial marker) expression was observed in the PFC following MD. On PND 30, the levels of Iba-1 remained elevated. On PND 40, the levels of GFAP were found to have increased in the hippocampus of rats that were subjected to MD. On PND 60, the levels of GFAP and AIF-1 remained elevated following MD. These results suggest that early life stress induces negative developmental programming in rats, as demonstrated by depressive-like behavior in adult life. Moreover, MD increases microglial activation in both early and late developmental phases. The levels of GFAP and IDO decreased in the early stages but were found to be higher in later developmental periods. These findings suggest that MD could differentially affect the expression of the IDO enzyme, astrocytes, and microglial activation depending on the neurodevelopmental period. The onset of an inflammatory state from resident brain cells could be associated with the activation of the kynurenine pathway and the development of depressive behavior in adulthood.

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