Impact of Maternal Helminths on Learning and Memory

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Northern Kentucky University
"Neuroinflammation can occur during development and cause cognitive impairments. Helminths have been shown to reduce cognitive disfunction and inflammation if given to mom and pups, but never if given to moms before she has her pups. We hypothesize that maternal helminth colonization will reduce the cognitive impairment associated with neonatal E. coli infection and an LPS injection in adulthood. We also hypothesize that maternal helminth colonization will reduce neuroinflammation in pups following an E. coli infection. Mom rats were inoculated with helminths to act as anti- inflammatories to observe effects on her offspring early in life and when they are trying to learn as adults. PCR arrays were run on the tissue of the hippocampus of P1 and P4 pups. Context Pre-Exposure Facilitation Effect was then performed on P60 rats to evaluate freezing on the third day. Results showed that there was a significant difference between females and males, with females freezing more than males, especially when given LPS. Rearing and grooming showed no significant difference. The PCR arrays on the P1 and P4 pups showed change in neonatal brains depending on mom treatment, sex, and age. We can start to see more gene expression within certain genes depending on the gender and treatment the mom received and the age of the neonates. In conclusion, adult female rats froze more than males, but more research will continue as more rats are added to the Context PreExposure Facilitation Effect paradigm. In neonatal brains, there are various variables affecting cytokines. Those variables include maternal treatment, sex, and age. Research will continue as more rats are added to explore these findings."
2021 Celebration of Student Research and Creativity presentation
Helminths, Learning ability Genetic aspects, Anti-inflammatory agents