Effect of LPS treatment on tyrosine hydroxylase expression and Parkinson-like behaviors

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Puberty is a critical period of development during which the brain undergoes reorganizing and remodeling. Exposure to stress during this period is thought to interfere with normal brain development and increase susceptibility to mental illnesses. In female mice, pubertal exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a bacterial endotoxin, has been shown to alter sexual, anxiety-like, and depression-like behaviors and cognition in an enduring manner. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects remain unknown. The present study examined age and sex difference in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression and dopamine-dependent and Parkinson-like behaviors following LPS treatment. The results show that LPS treatment during adulthood causes an enduring increase in TH expression in many of the brain regions examined. In contrast, there is no change in TH expression following LPS treatment during puberty. However, pubertal LPS treatment induces enduring behavioral deficits in tests of Parkinson-like behaviors, more so in male than in female mice. These results suggest that the low levels of TH following exposure to pubertal immune challenge may predispose mice to Parkinson-like behavior. These findings add to our understanding of stress and immune responses during puberty and their impact on mental health later in life.HighlightsPubertal mice display less sickness than their adult counterparts following LPS treatment.LPS treatment increases TH expression in mice treated in adulthood.LPS treatment fails to increase TH expression in mice treated during puberty.Pubertal LPS treatment permanently worsens the performance on tests of Parkinson-like behavior.

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