Neonatal lipopolysaccharide treatment has long-term effects on monoaminergic and cannabinoid receptors in the rat

Katerina Zavitsanou, Victoria S. Dalton, Adam K. Walker, Cynthia S Weickert, Luba Sominsky, Deborah M. Hodgson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Brain inflammation in early life has been proposed to play important roles in the development of anxiety and psychosis-related behaviors in adulthood, behaviors that rely on the integrity of dopamine and/or serotonin systems. Moreover recent behavioral and anatomical evidence suggests involvement of CB1 receptors in the control of emotion and mood. In this study, we determined the effects of neonatal LPS treatment on dopamine, serotonin, and cannabinoid receptor binding in adulthood. Rats were treated with the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on postnatal day (PND) 3 and 5. Dopamine D1, D2, serotonin 5HT1A, 5HT2A, and serotonin transporter and cannabinoid CB1 receptor binding across several brain regions were measured autoradiographically in adulthood (PND 85). Neonatal LPS treatment caused a significant increase in dopamine D2 in the nucleus accumbens and olfactory tubercle, a decrease in 5HT1A receptor binding in the hippocampus CA1 and ventromedial hypothalamus. A decrease in CB1 receptor binding after neonatal LPS was observed in the amygdala. Neonatal LPS had no significant impact on dopamine D1, serotonin 5HT2A or serotonin transporter binding in any of the brain regions examined. Our results suggest long lasting, region specific effects and differential impact on dopamine, serotonin and cannabinoid receptor systems following neonatal inflammation, that may form the basis for compromised anxiety and psychosis related behaviors. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-299
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • CB1
  • Dopamine D2
  • LPS
  • Neonatal immune activation
  • Serotonin 5HT1A

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