Chorioamnionitis and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) are risk factors for cerebral palsy (CP). Common bacteria isolated in chorioamnionitis include group B Streptococcus (GBS) serotypes Ia and III. Little is known about the impact of placental inflammation induced by different bacteria, including different GBS strains. We aimed to test the impact of chorioamnionitis induced by two common GBS serotypes (GBSIa and GBSIII) on growth and neuromotor outcomes in the progeny. Dams were exposed at the end of gestation to either saline, inactivated GBSIa or GBSIII. Inactivated GBS bacteria invaded placentas and triggered a chorioamnionitis featured by massive polymorphonuclear cell infiltrations. Offspring exposed to GBSIII - but not to GBSIa - developed IUGR, persisting beyond adolescent age. Male rats in utero exposed to GBSIII traveled a lower distance in the Open Field test, which was correlating with their level of IUGR. GBSIII-exposed rats presented decreased startle responses to acoustic stimuli beyond adolescent age. GBS-exposed rats displayed a dysmyelinated white matter in the corpus callosum adjacent to thinner primary motor cortices. A decreased density of microglial cells was detected in the mature corpus callosum of GBSIII-exposed males - but not females - which was correlating positively with the primary motor cortex thickness. Altogether, our results demonstrate a causal link between pathogen-induced acute chorioamnionitis and (1) IUGR, (2) serotype- and sex-specific neuromotor impairments and (3) abnormal development of primary motor cortices, dysmyelinated white matter and decreased density of microglial cells.
Keywords: IUGR; chorioamnionitis; motor cortex; rat, white matter injuries.