Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a relationship between prenatal infection and neurodevelopmental disorders in the offspring. Corroborating these findings, animal studies have shown that offspring of mothers exposed to pathogens or immune activating agents during pregnancy present several behavioral, biochemical and neuroanatomic changes. In this sense, prenatal infection induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration has been widely used as an experimental model for neurodevelopmental disorders and, more recently, for the study of affective disorders. On the other hand, a growing number of scientific studies have shown that maternal exercise during pregnancy has the ability to improve some functions in the offspring's brain such as, cognition (learning and memory), mood (anxiety and depression), neurogenesis and the expression of neurotrophic factors, among others. Therefore, given that prenatal infection negatively affect the offspring's brain and, conversely, prenatal exercise has the potential to improve several aspects of brain function, this research project aims to investigate the effects of prenatal exercise on behavioral (anxiety, depression and memory), morphological (number of neuronal and non-neuronal cells) and epigenetic (transcriptional regulation of Bdnf gene) changes in the offspring of rats treated with LPS during pregnancy.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: