IMR Press / JIN / Volume 21 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin2102061
Open Access Original Research
Prenatal exposure of citalopram elicits depression-like and anxiety-like behaviors and alteration of morphology and protein expression of medial prefrontal cortex in young adult mice
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1 School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Life Sciences, Wuhan University of Technology, 430070 Wuhan, Hubei, China
2 Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, 100070 Beijing, China
3 Advanced Innovation Center for Human Brain Protection, Capital Medical University, 100070 Beijing, China
4 National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Disease, 100070 Beijing, China
5 School of Medicine, Jianghan University, 430070 Wuhan, Hubei, China
6 Taihe Hospital, Hubei University of Medicine, 442000 Shiyan, Hubei, China
*Correspondence: (Jianping Wu)
These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editors: Yoshihiro Noda and Rafael Franco
J. Integr. Neurosci. 2022, 21(2), 61;
Submitted: 8 November 2021 | Revised: 19 January 2022 | Accepted: 29 January 2022 | Published: 23 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress exposure and psychiatric disorders)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: Treatment of major depression disorder with Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as citalopram (CTM), during pregnancy effects on the neurological trajectory of the offspring and induces enduring consequences, notably emotional and cognitive impairment. The associations between prenatal exposure to SSRIs and neurological underpinnings of these atypical behaviors in offspring are contentious and poorly understood. Methods: We examined modifications in physiological, morphological, and biochemical characteristics in male and female offspring of C57BL/6 exposed to CTM during the third trimester of gestation. We utilized different behavior procedures to observe depression and anxiety-like behavior in 1~2 month old CTM-exposed mouse offspring. We employed Golgi-Cox staining to examine the neuronal structure of medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in CTM-exposed mice following protein expression levels by utilizing biochemical techniques. Results: Our results indicate an impaired behavior such as anxiety and altered locomotion along with the substantial reduction in dendritic length and the number of dendritic branches in CTM-exposed mice. We observed differentially increase c-Fos expression in the mPFC following altered protein expression levels relative to controls. Conclusions: Our finding supports the function of CTM as a prenatal modulator of susceptibility to depressive-like behavior in offspring. We indicate that prenatal CTM exposure elicits a negative impact on the central nervous system, especially those regions involved in cognition and drug reinforcement. Furthermore, genetic, chemo-genetic, and optogenetic methods should be used to explain the function of SSRIs such as CTM during pregnancy in the regulation of mood and emotion-related behaviors in children.

selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
medial prefrontal cortex
Fig. 1.
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