Developmental motor deficits induced by combined fetal exposure to lipopolysaccharide and early neonatal hypoxia/ischemia: a novel animal model for cerebral palsy in very premature infants

Neuroscience. 2009 Jan 23;158(2):673-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.10.032. Epub 2008 Oct 30.


A critical issue in animal models of perinatal brain injury is to adapt the pertinent pathophysiological scenarios to their corresponding developmental window in order to induce neuropathological and behavioral characteristics reminiscent to perinatal cerebral palsy (CP). A major problem in most of these animal models designed up to now is that they do not present motor deficits characteristic of CP. Using a unique rat paradigm of prenatal inflammation combined to an early postnatal hypoxia-ischemia pertinent to the context of very early premature human newborns, we were interested in finding out if such experimental conditions might reproduce both histological damages and behavioral deficits previously described in the human context. We showed that exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or hypoxia-ischemia (H/I) induced behavioral alterations in animals subjected to forced motor activity. When both LPS and H/I aggressions were combined, the motor deficits reached their highest intensity and affected both spontaneous and forced motor activities. LPS+H/I-exposed animals also showed extensive bilateral cortical and subcortical lesions of the motor networks affecting the frontal cortices and underlying white matters fascicles, lenticular nuclei and the substantia nigra. These neuropathological lesions and their associated motor behavioral deficits are reminiscent of those observed in very preterm human neonates affected by subsequent CP and validate the value of the present animal model to test new therapeutic strategies which might open horizons for perinatal neuroprotection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / complications*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / pathology
  • Immobility Response, Tonic / physiology
  • Lipopolysaccharides*
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Male
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology*
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Aif1 protein, rat
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase