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Open AccessCommunication

VEGF Treatment Ameliorates Depression-Like Behavior in Adult Offspring after Maternal Immune Activation

1
Department of Neurophysiology and Neuropharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2
Department of Paediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Pediatric Intensive Care Medicine and Neuropaediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2020, 9(4), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9041048
Received: 26 March 2020 / Revised: 16 April 2020 / Accepted: 19 April 2020 / Published: 22 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotrophic Factors in Health and Disease)
Maternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy impacts offspring neurodevelopmental trajectories and induces lifelong consequences, including emotional and cognitive alterations. Using the polyinosinic:polycytidilic acid (PIC) MIA model we have previously demonstrated enhanced depression-like behavior in adult MIA offspring, which was associated with reduced expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2 (VEGFR2) in the hippocampus. Since VEGF mediates the effects of various antidepressant agents, we here set out to explore whether VEGF administration could rescue the depression-like behavioral deficits in MIA offspring. To test our hypothesis, control and MIA offspring were intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) infused with either VEGF or vehicle solution and depression-related behavior was assessed in the sucrose preference test (SPT) and the tail suspension test (TST). As a surrogate of VEGF activity, the phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in hippocampus was quantified. We found that VEGF treatment reduced depression-related behavioral despair in the TST in MIA offspring but had no effect on anhedonia-like behavior in the SPT. While VEGF administration induced the phosphorylation of ERK in the hippocampus of control offspring, this effect was blunted in the MIA offspring. We conclude that VEGF administration, at the dosage tested, beneficially affects some aspects of the depression-like phenotype in the adult MIA offspring, inviting further studies using different dosage regimes to further explore the therapeutic potential of VEGF treatment in MIA-related changes in brain function and behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: maternal immune activation; depression; VEGF; tail suspension test; sucrose preference test maternal immune activation; depression; VEGF; tail suspension test; sucrose preference test
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Sideromenos, S.; Lindtner, C.; Zambon, A.; Horvath, O.; Berger, A.; Pollak, D.D. VEGF Treatment Ameliorates Depression-Like Behavior in Adult Offspring after Maternal Immune Activation. Cells 2020, 9, 1048.

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