Maternal immune activation: reporting guidelines to improve the rigor, reproducibility, and transparency of the model

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 Jan;44(2):245-258. doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0185-7. Epub 2018 Aug 21.


The 2017 American College of Neuropychopharmacology (ACNP) conference hosted a Study Group on 4 December 2017, Establishing best practice guidelines to improve the rigor, reproducibility, and transparency of the maternal immune activation (MIA) animal model of neurodevelopmental abnormalities. The goals of this session were to (a) evaluate the current literature and establish a consensus on best practices to be implemented in MIA studies, (b) identify remaining research gaps warranting additional data collection and lend to the development of evidence-based best practice design, and (c) inform the MIA research community of these findings. During this session, there was a detailed discussion on the importance of validating immunogen doses and standardizing the general design (e.g., species, immunogenic compound used, housing) of our MIA models both within and across laboratories. The consensus of the study group was that data does not currently exist to support specific evidence-based model selection or methodological recommendations due to lack of consistency in reporting, and that this issue extends to other inflammatory models of neurodevelopmental abnormalities. This launched a call to establish a reporting checklist focusing on validation, implementation, and transparency modeled on the ARRIVE Guidelines and CONSORT (scientific reporting guidelines for animal and clinical research, respectively). Here we provide a summary of the discussions in addition to a suggested checklist of reporting guidelines needed to improve the rigor and reproducibility of this valuable translational model, which can be adapted and applied to other animal models as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Consensus
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / immunology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / immunology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design*