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JOURNAL ARTICLE

The adaptive immune and stress responses of adult female CD1 mice following exposure to a viral mimetic

Rupali Sharma, Madeleine May Kearns, Fatou Sarr, Nafissa Ismail
Immunology Letters 2019 March 14
30880119
Exposure to a bacterial endotoxin during puberty induces long-term changes to reproductive and non-reproductive behaviours. While the underlying mechanisms remain unknown, we have recently shown that there are age and sex differences in acute immune and stress responses following immune challenge. Given that it is unclear whether viral infections result in similar age and sex differences, the objective of this study was to examine the acute immune and stress responses following exposure to polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)), a viral mimetic, in CD1 mice and to investigate the role of gonadal hormones in these responses. CD1 male and female mice underwent sham-surgery or gonadectomy at 5 or 9 weeks of age. Following one week of recovery, at 6 (pubertal group) or 10 (adult group) weeks of age, mice were treated with either saline or poly(I:C). Poly(I:C) treatment induced greater sickness behaviour in males compared to females and increased peripheral corticosterone in adult mice relative to their pubertal counterparts. Changes in body temperature and central c-Fos expression were more prominent in adult females. Gonadectomy worsened poly(I:C)-induced sickness behaviour and altered body temperature in both sexes. The results demonstrate that adult females display the most pronounced acute changes in body temperature, corticosterone release, and c-Fos expression but show the fastest recovery in sickness behavior, indicating that, compared to males, females display an adaptive physiological response following immune stress due to higher circulating estradiol and progesterone.

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