Effect of repeated alcohol exposure during the third trimester-equivalent on messenger RNA levels for interleukin-1β, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2, and interleukin 10 in the developing rat brain after injection of lipopolysaccharide.
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Microglia undergo maturation during the third trimester of human development (equivalent to the first 1-2 weeks of postnatal life in rodents), during which these cells may be particularly sensitive to insult. Alcohol exposure during this period can activate the neuroimmune system, an effect that may contribute to the pathophysiology of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Here, we investigated whether repeated alcohol exposure during the third trimester-equivalent in rats has a priming effect on the neuroimmune response to injection of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Pups were exposed to alcohol in vapor chambers for 4 h daily from postnatal day (PD)2 to PD16 (peak blood alcohol concentrations ∼150 mg/dL). On PD17, rats were injected with either saline or LPS (50 μg/kg) and the frontal cortex, cerebellar vermis, and dentate gyrus were collected 2 h later. Messenger RNA (mRNA) levels for the pro-inflammatory agents interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and chemokine (C-C) motif ligand 2 (CCL2), as well as levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10), were measured using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. LPS consistently increased IL-1β and CCL2 mRNA levels in the dentate gyrus, frontal cortex, and cerebellum of both male and female rats. Furthermore, the LPS-induced increase of IL-1β mRNA levels was significantly blunted in the frontal cortex of alcohol-exposed female rats. Conversely, LPS only minimally affected IL-10 mRNA expression and there were no significant differences between air- and alcohol-exposed rats. Taken together with the literature regarding the effect of third-trimester alcohol exposure on the neuroimmune system, our findings suggest that chronic exposure to lower levels is less disruptive to the neuroimmune system than binge-like exposure to high doses of alcohol.Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.