Early life peripheral lipopolysaccharide challenge reprograms catecholaminergic neurons

Lin Kooi Ong, Erin A. Fuller, Luba Sominsky, Deborah M. Hodgson, Peter R. Dunkley, Phillip W. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Neonatal immune challenge with the bacterial mimetic lipopolysaccharide has the capacity to generate long-term changes in the brain. Neonatal rats were intraperitoneally injected with lipopolysaccharide (0.05 mg/kg) on postnatal day (PND) 3 and again on PND 5. The activation state of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) was measured in the locus coeruleus, ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra on PND 85. In the locus coeruleus there was an approximately four-fold increase in TH activity. This was accompanied by a significant increase in TH protein together with increased phosphorylation of all three serine residues in the N-terminal region of TH. In the ventral tegmental area, a significant increase in TH activity and increased phosphorylation of the serine 40 residue was seen. Neonatal lipopolysaccharide had no effect on TH activation in the substantia nigra. These results indicate the capacity of a neonatal immune challenge to generate long-term changes in the activation state of TH, in particular in the locus coeruleus. Overall, the current results demonstrate the enduring outcomes of a neonatal immune challenge on specific brain catecholaminergic regions associated with catecholamine synthesis. This highlights a novel mechanism for long-term physiological and behavioural alterations induced by this model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40475
Number of pages6
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

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