Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a leading cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity, and IUGR survivors are at increased risk of neurodevelopmental deficits. No effective interventions are currently available to improve the structure and function of the IUGR brain before birth. This study investigated the protective effects of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) on postnatal neurodevelopmental outcomes and brain injury using a rat model of IUGR induced by maternal exposure to dexamethasone (DEX). Pregnant rats were treated with DEX (200 μg/kg, s.c.) and LIPUS daily from gestational day (GD) 14 to 19. Behavioral assessments were performed on the IUGR offspring to examine neurological function. Neuropathology, levels of neurotrophic factors, and CaMKII-Akt-related molecules were assessed in the IUGR brain, and expression of glucose and amino acid transporters and neurotrophic factors were examined in the placenta. Maternal LIPUS treatment increased fetal weight, fetal liver weight, and placental weight following IUGR. LIPUS treatment also increased neuronal number and myelin protein expression in the IUGR brain, and attenuated neurodevelopmental deficits at postnatal day (PND) 18. However, the number of oligodendrocytes or microglia was not affected. These changes were associated with the upregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and placental growth factor (PlGF) protein expression, and enhancement of neuronal CaMKII and Akt activation in the IUGR brain at PND 1. Additionally, LIPUS treatment promoted glucose transporter (GLUT) 1 production and BDNF expression in the placenta, but had no effects on GLUT3 or amino acid transporter expression. Our findings suggest that antenatal LIPUS treatment may reduce IUGR-induced brain injury via enhancing cerebral BDNF/CaMKII/Akt signaling. These data provide new evidence that LIPUS stimulation could be considered for antenatal neuroprotective therapy in IUGR.
|出版狀態||Published - 11月 2021|