Maternal P7C3-A20 treatment protects offspring from neuropsychiatric sequelae of prenatal stress

Rachel Schroeder, Preethy Sridharan, Lynn Nguyen, Alexandra Loren, Noelle S. Williams, Kavitha P. Kettimuthu, Coral J. Cintrón-Pérez, Edwin Vázquez-Rosa, Andrew A. Pieper, Hanna E. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Aims: Impaired embryonic cortical interneuron development from prenatal stress is linked to adult neuropsychiatric impairment, stemming in part from excessive generation of reactive oxygen species in the developing embryo. Unfortunately, there are no preventive medicines that mitigate the risk of prenatal stress to the embryo, as the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms are poorly understood. Our goal was to interrogate the molecular basis of prenatal stress-mediated damage to the embryonic brain to identify a neuroprotective strategy. Results: Chronic prenatal stress in mice dysregulated nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) synthesis enzymes and cortical interneuron development in the embryonic brain, leading to axonal degeneration in the hippocampus, cognitive deficits, and depression-like behavior in adulthood. Offspring were protected from these deleterious effects by concurrent maternal administration of the NAD+-modulating agent P7C3-A20, which crossed the placenta to access the embryonic brain. Prenatal stress also produced axonal degeneration in the adult corpus callosum, which was not prevented by maternal P7C3-A20. Innovation: Prenatal stress dysregulates gene expression of NAD+-synthesis machinery and GABAergic interneuron development in the embryonic brain, which is associated with adult cognitive impairment and depression-like behavior. We establish a maternally directed treatment that protects offspring from these effects of prenatal stress. Conclusion: NAD+-synthesis machinery and GABAergic interneuron development are critical to proper embryonic brain development underlying postnatal neuropsychiatric functioning, and these systems are highly susceptible to prenatal stress. Pharmacologic stabilization of NAD+ in the stressed embryonic brain may provide a neuroprotective strategy that preserves normal embryonic development and protects offspring from neuropsychiatric impairment. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 35, 511–530.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-530
Number of pages20
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Axon degeneration
  • Cortical interneurons
  • Learning and memory
  • Neuroprotection
  • P7C3
  • Prenatal stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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