LPS, lipopolysaccharide, or better lipopolysaccharides are a group of large molecules consisting of a lipid attached to a polysaccharide. They are found on the outer cell membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and act as an endotoxin. It binds to the CD14/TLR4/MD2 receptor complex that can be found on the membrane of several immune cells (monocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages and B cells). Like PolyI:C, prenatal LPS, while not crossing the blood placental barrier, activates the maternal immune system which ultimately affect the foetus. We currently have two projects aimed at investigating the long-term consequences… Read More
While we know that most psychiatric disorders have a strong genetic component, we equally know that none are purely determined by genetic factors alone. Studies in monozygotic (identical twins) show that if one half of the twin has a mental disorder, the other has a chance of about 40 to 60% of also developing the disorder. While this is much higher than the risk in the general population it is also much less than 100% even though both twins share all of their genes. This clearly indicates that non-genetic, environmental factors must… Read More
Polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (PolyI:C) is an immunostimulant that simulates viral infections. Like viruses, it does not see to cross the blood placental barrier but activates the maternal immune system by stimulating the TLR3 receptor (which is found on several immune cells, such as B-cells, macrophages and dendritic cells). Components of the maternal immune system, such as interleukin-6 and others are known to cross the blood placental barrier to reach the foetal brain. Interleukins are known to activate microglia (the brain’s immune system) and during development can cause, what is known as a cytokine… Read More
Linda’s doctoral research investigates the effect of an enriched environment on neural structures and empathy-driven social behaviours in Autism Spectrum Disorders.