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Brain Sci. 2017, 7(7), 89; doi:10.3390/brainsci7070089

Transgenerational Social Stress Alters Immune–Behavior Associations and the Response to Vaccination

1
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA
2
Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Bruno Aouizerate and Stephanie Cacioppo
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Best Practices in Social Neuroscience)
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Abstract

Similar to the multi-hit theory of schizophrenia, social behavior pathologies are mediated by multiple factors across generations, likely acting additively, synergistically, or antagonistically. Exposure to social adversity, especially during early life, has been proposed to induce depression symptoms through immune mediated mechanisms. Basal immune factors are altered in a variety of neurobehavioral models. In the current study, we assessed two aspects of a transgenerational chronic social stress (CSS) rat model and its effects on the immune system. First, we asked whether exposure of F0 dams and their F1 litters to CSS changes basal levels of IL-6, TNF, IFN-γ, and social behavior in CSS F1 female juvenile rats. Second, we asked whether the F2 generation could generate normal immunological responses following vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG). We report several changes in the associations between social behaviors and cytokines in the F1 juvenile offspring of the CSS model. It is suggested that changes in the immune–behavior relationships in F1 juveniles indicate the early stages of immune mediated disruption of social behavior that becomes more apparent in F1 dams and the F2 generation. We also report preliminary evidence of elevated IL-6 and impaired interferon-gamma responses in BCG-vaccinated F2 females. In conclusion, transgenerational social stress alters both immune–behavior associations and responses to vaccination. It is hypothesized that the effects of social stress may accumulate over generations through changes in the immune system, establishing the immune system as an effective preventative or treatment target for social behavior pathologies. View Full-Text
Keywords: social stress; transgenerational; IL-6; TNF; interferon; vaccination; social behavior; depression; anxiety social stress; transgenerational; IL-6; TNF; interferon; vaccination; social behavior; depression; anxiety
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hicks-Nelson, A.; Beamer, G.; Gurel, K.; Cooper, R.; Nephew, B.C. Transgenerational Social Stress Alters Immune–Behavior Associations and the Response to Vaccination. Brain Sci. 2017, 7, 89.

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