Effects of prenatal Poly I:C exposure on global histone deacetylase (HDAC) and DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) activity in the mouse brain

Yara Pujol Lopez*, Gunter Kenis, Waldtraud Stettinger, Karin Neumeier, Sylvia de Jonge, Harry W. M. Steinbusch, Peter Zill, Daniel L. A. van den Hove, Aye M. Myint

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of our study was to investigate the brain-specific epigenetic effects on global enzymatic histone deacetylase (HDAC) and DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) activity after prenatal exposure to maternal immune challenge by polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (Poly I:C) at gestational day (GD) 17 in C57BL/6JRccHsd mouse offspring. Pregnant mice were randomly divided into 2 groups, receiving either 5 mg/kg Poly I:C or phosphate buffered saline (PBS) intravenously at GD 17. Subsequently, the effects on whole brain enzymatic HDAC and DNMT activity and the protein levels of various HDAC isoforms were assessed in the offspring. Overall, a significant sex x treatment interaction effect was observed after prenatal exposure to maternal immune challenge by Poly I:C, indicative of increased global HDAC activity particularly in female offspring from mothers injected with Poly I:C when compared to controls. Results on the levels of specific HDAC isoforms suggested that neither differences in the levels of HDAC1, HDAC2, HDAC3, HDAC4 or HDAC6 could explain the increased global HDAC activity observed in female Poly I:C offspring. In conclusion, we show that Poly I:C administration to pregnant mice alters global brain HDAC, but not DNMT activity in adult offspring, whereas it is still unclear which specific HDAC(s) mediate(s) this effect. These results indicate the necessity for further research on the epigenetic effects of Poly I:C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-717
JournalMolecular Biology Reports
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Infection
  • Pregnancy
  • HDAC
  • Epigenetics
  • Mouse
  • Poly I:C

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