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A Nonhuman Primate Model of Maternal Immune Activation

Thursday, 2 May 2013: 09:00-13:00
Banquet Hall (Kursaal Centre)
M. D. Bauman, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis, Sacramento, CA
Background:  Maternal infection during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of having a child later develop a neurodevelopmental disorder, such as autism or schizophrenia. In a mouse model of maternal immune activation (MIA), administration of the viral mimic dsRNA poly(I:C) to pregnant dams results in offspring with increased anxiety and repetitive behaviors as well as deficits in social interaction and communication.

Objectives:  To further evaluate this risk factor, we have adapted the rodent polyI:C model for use in the nonhuman primate. 

Methods:  A modified form of poly(I:C) was delivered to pregnant rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) at the end of either the first or second trimester.  A separate control group of pregnant rhesus monkeys received saline injections at these time points. Behavioral development of the MIA-exposed macaque offspring was then systematically evaluated for the first 4 years of life.

Results:  MIA-exposed macaque offspring demonstrate atypical repetitive behaviors, vocalizations and social interactions.

Conclusions:  MIA in the nonhuman primate model was associated with alterations in brain, behavior and immunological development that resemble features of human neurodevelopmental disorders.

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