†These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editors: Yoshihiro Noda and Rafael Franco
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.