Maternal Interleukin-6 Is Associated With Macaque Offspring Amygdala Development and Behavior

Julian S B Ramirez, Alice M Graham, Jacqueline R Thompson, Jennifer Y Zhu, Darrick Sturgeon, Jennifer L Bagley, Elina Thomas, Samantha Papadakis, Muhammed Bah, Anders Perrone, Eric Earl, Oscar Miranda-Dominguez, Eric Feczko, Eric J Fombonne, David G Amaral, Joel T Nigg, Elinor L Sullivan, Damien A Fair

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1 Scopus citations


Human and animal cross-sectional studies have shown that maternal levels of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) may compromise brain phenotypes assessed at single time points. However, how maternal IL-6 associates with the trajectory of brain development remains unclear. We investigated whether maternal IL-6 levels during pregnancy relate to offspring amygdala volume development and anxiety-like behavior in Japanese macaques. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was administered to 39 Japanese macaque offspring (Female: 18), providing at least one or more time points at 4, 11, 21, and 36 months of age with a behavioral assessment at 11 months of age. Increased maternal third trimester plasma IL-6 levels were associated with offspring's smaller left amygdala volume at 4 months, but with more rapid amygdala growth from 4 to 36 months. Maternal IL-6 predicted offspring anxiety-like behavior at 11 months, which was mediated by reduced amygdala volumes in the model's intercept (i.e., 4 months). The results increase our understanding of the role of maternal inflammation in the development of neurobehavioral disorders by detailing the associations of a commonly examined inflammatory indicator, IL-6, on amygdala volume growth over time, and anxiety-like behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1573-1585
Number of pages13
JournalCerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 14 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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