Maternal cigarette smoke exposure worsens neurological outcomes in adolescent offspring with hypoxic-ischemic injury

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 2017, 10
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Chan, Saad, Machaalani, Oliver, Vissel, Pollock, Jones and Chen. Hypoxic-ischemic (HI) encephalopathy occurs in approximately 6 per 1000 term newborns leading to devastating neurological consequences, such as cerebral palsy and seizures. Maternal smoking is one of the prominent risk factors contributing to HI injury. Mitochondrial integrity plays a critical role in neural injury and repair during HI. We previously showed that maternal cigarette smoke exposure (SE) can reduce brain mitochondrial fission and autophagosome markers in male offspring. This was accompanied by increased brain cell apoptosis (active caspase-3) and DNA fragmentation (TUNEL staining). Here, we aimed to investigate whether maternal SE leads to more severe neurological damage after HI brain injury in male offspring. Female BALB/c mice (8 weeks) were exposed to cigarette smoke prior to mating, during gestation, and lactation. At postnatal day 10, half of the pups from each litter underwent left carotid artery occlusion, followed by exposure to 8% oxygen (92% nitrogen). At postnatal day 40–44, maternal SE reduced grip strength in grip traction and foot fault tests, which were also reduced by HI injury to similar levels regardless of the maternal group. Limb coordination was impaired by maternal SE which was not worsened by HI injury. Maternal SE increased anxiety level in the offspring, which was normalized by HI injury. Apoptosis markers were increased in different brain regions by maternal SE, with the cortex having further increased TUNEL by HI injury, along with increased markers of inflammation and mitophagy. We conclude that maternal SE can worsen HI-induced cellular damage in male offspring well into adolescence.
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