Developmental differences in the biobehavioral consequences of immune activation in early life were investigated in two lines of mice selectively bred for high and low levels of inter-male aggressive behavior. At age 5 or 6 days, male mice were administered saline or 0.05 mg/kg gram-negative bacterial endotoxin (Escherichia coli, LPS, ip). There was a transient endotoxin-induced reduction in the growth rate of the neonates in the high-aggressive line. At age 45-50 days, the animals' behaviors were assessed in a dyadic task. Hypothalami and sera were harvested 20 min later. Rates of socially reactive behaviors to conspecific contact (i.e., kick, startle) were increased in the endotoxin-treated groups from both lines. For the high-aggressive line only, endotoxin treatment increased behavioral immobility, decreased attack frequency, and decreased levels of hypothalamic corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF). The effects of endotoxin exposure in early life on socially reactive behaviors in later life were associated with endotoxin-induced individual differences in CRF levels in the high-aggressive line but not the low-aggressive line. The findings demonstrate long term social developmental consequences of immune activation during the neonatal period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience