Assessing antidepressant exposure during pregnancy and Autism-like behavior in mouse pups

July 2, 2018, Society for Neuroscience
Maternal use of the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) can alter the brain circuits in her offspring that control behaviors reminiscent of autism spectrum disorder, suggests a study in mice published in eNeuro. Credit: Maloney et al., eNeuro (2018)

Maternal use of the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) can alter the brain circuits in her offspring that control behaviors reminiscent of autism spectrum disorder, suggests a study in mice published in eNeuro. These results have no immediate bearing on the treatment of depression in pregnant women.

Medications that increase availability of serotonin in the brain—selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—are commonly prescribed to treat mood disorders in . Previous research in humans suggesting disruptions of the serotonin system in the risk of developing autism has motivated scientists to examine the influence of SSRI treatment during pregnancy on brain development.

Susan Maloney, Joseph Dougherty and colleagues developed a rodent model of maternal SSRI exposure to investigate the effect of the drug alone, without any additional stress, on the development of autism-like behaviors in offspring. The researchers found that the pups of exposed to fluoxetine throughout the human equivalent of three trimesters and one year of nursing were the most vulnerable, developing social abnormalities as well as repetitive behavior patterns and hypersensitivity to touch reminiscent of autism.

Re-exposing these mice to fluoxetine as adults improved their sensory sensitivity but worsened the social abnormalities. This finding suggests that some of these circuit alterations may be reversible while others may be permanently changed by fluoxetine.

Explore further: Insights into depression could aid development of new treatments

More information: Susan E. Maloney et al, Examining the Reversibility of Long-Term Behavioral Disruptions in Progeny of Maternal SSRI Exposure, eNeuro (2018). DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0120-18.2018

Related Stories

Insights into depression could aid development of new treatments

February 26, 2018
Fresh insights into changes in the brain linked to depression could pave the way for new therapies.

Antidepressant bone loss could be prevented with beta-blockers

September 7, 2016
The antidepressant fluoxetine causes bone loss by instructing the brain to send out signals that increase bone breakdown, but a beta-blocker can intercept the signals, a new study in mice has found.

Common antidepressants in pregnancy may alter fetal brain development

April 10, 2018
(HealthDay)—Pregnant women who take certain antidepressants may unknowingly compromise the brain development of their child, researchers suggest.

Novel mode of antidepressant action may help patients unresponsive to SSRIs

April 25, 2017
Antidepressants treat symptoms of depression by increasing levels of brain signaling molecules (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin, as with the most widely used type of antidepressant, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ...

Exposure to certain antidepressants in pregnancy may modestly increase risk of autism spectrum disorders

July 4, 2011
Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, especially during the first trimester, is associated with a modest increase the risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder, according to a report published ...

Maternal inflammation boosts serotonin and impairs fetal brain development in mice

May 31, 2016
Fighting the flu during pregnancy sickens a pregnant woman, but it may also put the fetus at a slightly increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders like autism later in life. A new study in pregnant mice, published June ...

Recommended for you

Overlooked signal in MRI scans reflects amount, kind of brain cells

September 24, 2018
An MRI scan often generates an ocean of data, most of which is never used. When overlooked data is analyzed using a new technique developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, they surprisingly reveal ...

Even mild physical activity immediately improves memory function, study finds

September 24, 2018
People who include a little yoga or tai chi in their day may be more likely to remember where they put their keys. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Japan's University of Tsukuba found that even very ...

Thousands of unknown DNA changes in the developing brain revealed by machine learning

September 24, 2018
Unlike most cells in the rest of our body, the DNA (the genome) in each of our brain cells is not the same: it varies from cell to cell, caused by somatic changes. This could explain many mysteries—from the cause of Alzheimer's ...

Implant helps paralysed man walk again

September 24, 2018
Five years after he was paralysed in a snowmobile accident, a man in the US has learned to walk again aided by an electrical implant, in a potential breakthrough for spinal injury sufferers.

Common painkiller not effective for chronic pain after traumatic nerve injury

September 24, 2018
A new study out today in the Journal of Neurology finds that pregabalin is not effective in controlling the chronic pain that sometimes develops following traumatic nerve injury. The results of the international study, which ...

Breast milk may be best for premature babies' brain development

September 21, 2018
Babies born before their due date show better brain development when fed breast milk rather than formula, a study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.