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Toll-like Receptors (TLRs) are implicated with the pathogenesis of cognitive impairment induced by inflammation. Early life stress is associated with altered trajectories of neuroimmune signaling with implications for cognitive development. However, effects of TLR-3 activation on early life stress-related cognitive outcomes are understudied. We investigated the effects of maternal separation (MS) during postnatal development and a viral immune challenge during adolescence on working memory performance. BALB/c mice exposed to MS were separated from their dams daily for 180-min from postnatal day (PND) 2 to 15. At PND 45, animals were challenged with a single i.p. injection of either Poly (
C) or sterile saline, and then subjected to a spatial working memory test in a Y-maze apparatus. Gene expression was determined by qPCR. Protein levels of oxidative stress markers were also assessed. A single peripheral administration of a TLR-3 agonist was able to induce working memory impairments in adolescent mice exposed to MS. At a molecular level, exposure to MS was associated with lower mRNA levels of Tlr3 in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). However, when MS animals were exposed to Poly (
C), a more robust activation of Tlr3, Il6 and Nfkb1 gene transcription was observed in these mice compared with control animals. These modifications did not result in oxidative stress. Finally, higher mRNA levels of Nfkb1 in the mPFC were correlated with lower working memory performance, suggesting that altered NF-κB signaling might be related with poor cognitive functioning. These results have implications for how ELS affects neuroimmune signaling in the mPFC.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Behavioural brain research
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