Resolving sex differences in psychiatric disorder risk

April 15, 2019

Male and female rats whose mother experienced a simulated viral infection during pregnancy display autism- and schizophrenia-like behaviors, according to a new follow-up study published in eNeuro. The researchers extended findings of their previous study of male animals to their female siblings.

Maternal immune activation (MIA) is a risk factor for human psychiatric disorders that manifest differently in men and women. Preclinical MIA research has historically been conducted mainly in males, which may contribute to conflicting results in this research area.

John Howland and colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada revisited their 2018 eNeuro study in which they observed behavioral abnormalities in the male offspring of rats who experienced an inflammatory event during pregnancy. The researchers report similar findings in their new study of these animals' female littermates. This similarity highlights the limitations of this model for investigating the neural underpinnings of documented sex differences in mental illness.
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Manuscript title: Maternal Immune Activation During Pregnancy Alters the Behavior Profile of Female Offspring of Sprague-Dawley Rats

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About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

Society for Neuroscience

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