Maternal high fructose diet and neonatal immune challenge alter offspring anxiety-like behavior and inflammation across the lifespan

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Abstract

Aims:

This study examined the interaction between maternal high fructose diet and neonatal inflammation in neonates (P7), juveniles (P26–34) and adults on measures of anxiety-like behavior and cognition. The study aimed to assess the potential synergistic effects of these two forms of early-life inflammation.

Main methods:

We fed Sprague-Dawley dams with high fructose (60%) diet or normal chow. Each litter was treated with either saline or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on postnatal day (P)3 and P5 and two pups were tested for USVs after maternal separation on P7. Post-weaning, juveniles were tested on the elevated zero maze (EZM) and in a context-object discrimination (COD) task prior to tissue harvest. Adults were tested on the EZM and the COD task as well. Immunohistochemistry and ELISA were used to assess molecular and cellular changes in the offspring.

Key findings:

This study demonstrates that maternal diet and neonatal inflammation altered peripheral inflammation in neonates, altered anxiety-like behavior in juveniles, and altered anxiety-like behavior in adulthood. Maternal diet and sex increased juvenile peripheral inflammation and altered memory on the context-discrimination task.

Significance:

Maternal diet has a profound impact on fetal and neonatal development, especially as obesity rates are on the rise worldwide. Together, these findings reveal enduring effects of maternal diet on offspring, support the findings on the effects of neonatal inflammation on anxiety-like behaviors in later-life periods, and add to the complex relationship between gestational and neonatal inflammation and anxiety.

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