Minocycline (MIN) is a tetracycline with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. Given the likely involvement of inflammation and oxidative stress (IOS) in schizophrenia, MIN has been proposed as a potential adjuvant treatment in this pathology. We tested an early therapeutic window, during adolescence, as prevention of the schizophrenia related deficits in the maternal immune stimulation (MIS) animal model.
On gestational day 15, Poly I:C or vehicle were injected to pregnant Wistar rats. 93 male offspring received MIN (30 mg/Kg) or saline from postnatal day (PND) 35-49. At PND70, rats were submitted to the prepulse inhibition test (PPI). FDG-PET and T2-weighted MRI brain studies were performed at adulthood. IOS markers were evaluated in frozen brain tissue.
MIN treatment did not prevent PPI behavioral deficits in MIS-offspring. However, MIN prevented morphometric abnormalities in the third ventricle but not in the hippocampus. Additionally, MIN reduced brain metabolism in cerebellum and increased it in nucleus accumbens. Finally, MIN reduced the expression of iNOS (prefrontal cortex, caudate-putamen) and increased the levels of KEAP1 (prefrontal cortex), HO1 and NQO1 (amygdala, hippocampus), and HO1 (caudate-putamen).
MIN-treatment during adolescence partially counteracts volumetric abnormalities and IOS deficits in the MIS model, likely via iNOS and Nrf2-ARE pathways, also increasing the expression of cytoprotective enzymes. However, MIN treatment during this peripubertal stage does not prevent sensorimotor gating deficits. Therefore, even though it does not prevent all the MIS-derived abnormalities evaluated, our results suggest the potential utility of early treatment with MIN in other schizophrenia domains.

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of CINP.