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Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been found to have a variety of sensory processing deficits. Here we report that maternal immune activation, a known factor for ASD, alters visual acuity in the offspring mice. By intraperitoneally injecting polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (polyI:C) to induce maternal immune activation during embryonic days 10 to 14, we found that polyI:C treatment impairs visual acuity in young adult offspring mice as examined by their optomotor responses. Concurrently, polyI:C treatment suppresses retinogeniculate axon elimination, resulting in a high fraction of weak optical fibers innervating the relay neurons in the visual thalamus. The results link in-utero maternal inflammation to defective optical fiber pruning and arrested developmental strengthening of single optic fibers which may underlie impaired visual acuity. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Jinshuai Ren, Yixiu Yan, Shan Cheng, Jianmei Long, Hanxiong Zhang, Junlu Wang, Yi Shen, Yu-Dong Zhou, Matthew P Anderson. Maternal immune activation alters visual acuity and retinogeniculate axon pruning in offspring mice. Brain, behavior, and immunity. 2020 Oct;89:518-523

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PMID: 32827701

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