Chronic gestational inflammation : transfer of maternal adaptation over two generations of progeny

Adams, R. C. M. ; Smith, C. (2019-08-25)

CITATION: Adams, R. C. M. & Smith, C. 2019. Chronic gestational inflammation : transfer of maternal adaptation over two generations of progeny. Mediators of Inflammation, 2019 (Article ID 9160941), doi:10.1155/2019/9160941.

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Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund


Changes in the in utero environment result in generational transfer of maladapted physiology in the context of conditions such as stress, obesity, and anxiety. Given the significant contribution of noncommunicable diseases—which are characterised by chronic inflammation—to population mortality, the potential for chronic maternal inflammation mediating foetal programming is a growing concern. The extent of generational transfer in terms of immune functionality and leukocyte glucocorticoid sensitivity was investigated over two generations of offspring (F1 and F2) in a model of chronic LPS-induced maternal inflammation in C57/BL/6 mice. Maternal inflammation resulted in glucocorticoid hypersensitivity (increased glucocorticoid receptor expression levels) in the majority of leukocyte subpopulations in both F1 and F2 offspring. Furthermore, splenocytes stimulated with LPS in vitro exhibited exacerbated inflammatory cytokine responses, which were even more prominent in F2 than F1; this effect could be ascribed to NLRP3 inflammasome hyperactivity in F1 but not F2. Current data illustrates that parental chronic inflammation may mediate the inflammatory profile in offspring, potentially propagating a maladapted proinflammatory phenotype in subsequent generations.

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