Author(s): Oyabu A, Narita M, Tashiro Y
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Abstract In utero exposure to valproic acid (VPA) may cause symptoms related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An abnormal serotonergic (5-HT) system has been implicated in the etiology of ASD. In the present study, we have examined the expression and distribution of two early inducers of 5-HT neurons in rat embryos, to elucidate the prenatal development of 5-HT neurons after VPA exposure at embryonic day (E) 9.5. Whole-embryo in situ hybridization at E11.5 showed that the expression of sonic hedgehog, one of the early inducers of 5-HT neurons, was reduced around the isthmus in the VPA-exposed group. Furthermore, whole-mount immunohistochemistry of the hindbrain and quantitative analysis of 5-HT neurons in the rostral raphe nucleus (rRN) revealed that neuronal distribution in the caudal part of the rRN was narrower at E15.5 in the VPA-exposed group than in controls. Thus, the early development of 5-HT neurons was altered after VPA exposure in utero. The observed prenatal alteration may be significant in the etiology of autism. Copyright © 2013 ISDN. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Int J Dev Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology