Effects of Subcutaneous LPS Injection on Gestational Length and Intrauterine and Neonatal Mortality in Mice

Yara Pujol Lopez*, Harry W. M. Steinbusch, Bart Rutten, Gunter Kenis, Daniel L. van den Hove, Aye M. Myint

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Infection during pregnancy can predispose offspring to develop various psychiatric disorders such as depression in later life. In order to investigate the potential mechanisms underlying these associations, animal models of maternal infection have been employed. As such, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has been commonly used to mimic a bacterial infection in pregnant mice. Objective: The original aim of our study was to investigate the effects of different doses of subcutaneous LPS administration on affective behavior in adult mouse offspring. In the present paper, however, we report that subcutaneous LPS administration has a profound impact on gestational length, litter size, and perinatal mortality in the offspring, even at a relatively low dose. Methods: Pregnant mice were randomly divided into 3 groups, receiving either a high (2 mg/kg) or a low (0.5 mg/kg) dose of LPS or phosphate-buffered saline by means of subcutaneous injection. Subsequently, the effects on gestational length, litter size, and perinatal mortality in the offspring were assessed. Results: After subcutaneous injection with a high dose of LPS, we observed a significant decrease in gestational length and an increase in neonatal mortality. When the low dose was administered, a tendency towards a reduced litter size was observed, most likely reflecting increased intrauterine mortality in response to prenatal maternal LPS exposure. Conclusions: We showed that subcutaneous administration of 2 mg/kg LPS to pregnant mice in the last phase of gestation should be avoided because of high offspring mortality rates, whereas subcutaneous injection of 0.5 mg/kg LPS seems to result in reabsorption of the fetuses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-278
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Infection
  • Pregnancy
  • Mortality
  • Mouse

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