Inflammatory state and autism-like behavioral phenotype of offspring induced by maternal exposure to low-dose chemical mixtures during pregnancy in mice

Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2021 Jun 25;50(3):279-289. doi: 10.3724/zdxbyxb-2021-0182.


To investigate the effects of maternal exposure to 13 chemicals mixture (CM) during pregnancy on pregnancy outcome and health status of maternal/offspring mice. C57BL/6 pregnant mice were given drinking water containing carbaryl dimethoate glyphosate methomyl methyl parathion triadimefon aspartame sodium benzoate calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetate ethylparaben butylparaben bisphenol A and acacia gum The effects of CM exposure on pregnancy outcome, health status of dams/offspring, levels of circulating inflammatory cytokines in dams/offspring and emotional related behaviors of offspring were evaluated. CM exposure during pregnancy had no significant effect on pregnancy outcome, liver function, body weight of the dams in late pregnancy and uterine/ovarian weight after delivery, however, it led to an increase in maternal serum IFN-γ level (<0.05). CM exposure during pregnancy had no significant effect on the liver function of offspring, but increased the serum IFN-γ, prefrontal cortex IFN-γ, and TNF-α and hippocampus IFN-γ levels in the offspring(all <0.01). In addition, the offspring of CM group showed significant abnormal emotion-related (autism-like) behaviors in adulthood, especially in male offspring. Low dose CM exposure during pregnancy may induce inflammation status in dams/offspring, and lead to autism-like behaviors in offspring, indicating the potential effects of low dose CM exposure on human maternal and infant health.

Keywords: Autism; Development; Environmental toxicant; Maternal and infant health; Mouse.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder* / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / chemically induced

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