Maternal immune response may render brain vulnerable to injury

Mouse brains exposed to inflammation in the womb become more susceptible to a second challenge, researchers reported today at the 2017 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington D.C.

When briefly deprived of oxygen, mice exposed to maternal inflammation show higher immune activation and suffer greater brain damage than their unexposed peers.

Studies in people suggest that infections during pregnancy boost autism riskin the child by as much as 37 percent. Mice exposed to inflammation in the womb show autism-like features, such as social deficits and structural changes in the brain.

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