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

Neural inflammation plays critical role in stress-induced depression

July 19, 2018
A group of Japanese researchers has discovered that neural inflammation caused by the innate immune system plays an unexpectedly important role in stress-induced depression. This insight could potentially lead to the development ...

Paralyzed mice with spinal cord injury made to walk again

July 19, 2018
Most people with spinal cord injury are paralyzed from the injury site down, even when the cord isn't completely severed. Why don't the spared portions of the spinal cord keep working? Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital ...

Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production and survival of myelin-forming cells

July 19, 2018
The nervous system is a complex organ that relies on a variety of biological players to ensure daily function of the human body. Myelin—a membrane produced by specialized glial cells—plays a critical role in protecting ...

Understanding the neuroscience of binge drinking

July 19, 2018
A new study from researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center found that binge drinking impairs working memory in the adolescent brain. The study, in mice, explains why teenagers who binge drink are 15 times more ...

Neurons can carry more than one signal at a time

July 18, 2018
Back in the early days of telecommunications, engineers devised a clever way to send multiple telephone calls through a single wire at the same time. Called time-division multiplexing, this technique rapidly switches between ...

Researchers solve mystery of how ALL enters the central nervous system

July 18, 2018
A deadly feature of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is its invasion of the central nervous system.

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.