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Sex-Dependent Effects of Perinatal Inflammation on the Brain: Implication for Neuro-Psychiatric Disorders

Journal article
Authors Maryam Ardalan
Tetyana Chumak
Z. Vexler
Carina Mallard
Published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume 20
Issue 9
ISSN 1422-0067
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Language en
Keywords neuroimmune, neuropsychiatry, perinatal, sex, microglia, maternal immune activation, autism spectrum disorder, deficit, hyperactivity disorder, depression-like behaviors, peripheral-blood, levels, pituitary-adrenal axis, prenatal exposure, attention-deficit, white-matter, microglial colonization
Subject categories Neurosciences, Psychiatry


Individuals born preterm have higher rates of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, autistic spectrum, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders. These conditions are often sexually dimorphic and with different developmental trajectories. The etiology is likely multifactorial, however, infections both during pregnancy and in childhood have emerged as important risk factors. The association between sex- and age-dependent vulnerability to neuropsychiatric disorders has been suggested to relate to immune activation in the brain, including complex interactions between sex hormones, brain transcriptome, activation of glia cells, and cytokine production. Here, we will review sex-dependent effects on brain development, including glia cells, both under normal physiological conditions and following perinatal inflammation. Emphasis will be given to sex-dependent effects on brain regions which play a role in neuropsychiatric disorders and inflammatory reactions that may underlie early-life programming of neurobehavioral disturbances later in life.

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