Previous work shows that repeated administration of several commonly used antipsychotic drugs, such as olanzapine (OLZ) over several days, induces an enhanced disruption of conditioned avoidance response (CAR) (termed antipsychotic sensitization) in normal adolescent and adult rats. However, it is unclear whether the same phenomenon can also be demonstrated in rat models of schizophrenia. The present study investigated OLZ sensitization in a combined maternal immune activation (MIA) and repeated maternal separation (RMS) model of schizophrenia. Sprague-Dawley male rats were first subjected to an early prenatal exposure to polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (PolyI:C) on gestation days 13 (4 mg/kg, iv) and 15 (6 mg/kg, iv). They were then repeatedly separated from their mothers for 3 h daily during the first two weeks of postpartum. After they became adolescent (on postnatal day, PND 43), acute and OLZ sensitization effects in the CAR model was assessed. Adolescent MIA rats showed an impaired acquisition of conditioned avoidance response, but displayed a normal acute OLZ-induced avoidance suppression and OLZ sensitization effect. In adulthood (PND 81), MIA rats again showed an impairment in the acquisition of CAR. However, they showed a reduced response to OLZ (1.0 mg/kg; sc) treatment during the repeated drug test days, indicating a disruption of the induction of OLZ sensitization. In the OLZ sensitization challenge test, both MIA and control rats exhibited a robust and similar sensitization effect. In both adolescence and adulthood, RMS alone had no effect on any of the behavioral outcomes, and combined MIA-RMS even abolished the MIA alone-induced disruption of avoidance acquisition and the induction of OLZ sensitization. These results indicate that MIA disrupts associative learning and may reduce antipsychotic efficacy in the early stage of OLZ treatment. RMS does not appear to affect associative learning and behavioral responses to OLZ, and may possibly attenuate MIA-induced deficits. Our findings demonstrate that OLZ sensitization is a robust phenomenon but its magnitude can be altered by early MIA.
- Conditioned avoidance response
- Maternal immune activation
- Repeated maternal separation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience