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Effect of congenital and acquired HCMV infection on the expression of NMDA receptor NR1 subunit in rat offspring

This study investigated the effect of congenital and acquired Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection on the offspring of infected rats. Eighteen 8-week old Spraque-Dawley rats were divided into three groups: control, congenital HCMV infection, and acquired HCMV infection. The offspring’s learning and memory capabilities were assessed by observing the rats in a Morris water maze. Haematoxylin-eosin staining and immunohistochemistry were applied to quantify the expression of NMethyl- D-Aspartic Acid (NMDA) receptor, net reclassification improvement (NR1) sub-unit in the hippocampus. Hippocampus structure was normal in the control group, with cells arranged evenly, intact nuclei, and obvious nucleoli. In the congenital and acquired HCMV groups, the hippocampal structure was loose, cells were reduced in granular layers, and even nuclei were lost. Furthermore, the mean absorbance of NR1, as well as learning and memory capabilities were lower in the treatment groups than in the control. Both congenital and acquired HCMV infection led to impaired learning and memory in rat offspring, possibly because of altered hippocampal expression of the NMDA receptor

Author(s): Rui Zhou, Jia-Li Xu, Yuan-Yuan Zhang, Ting Li, De Wu, Jiu-Lai Tang