Neurodevelopment and phenotype-modulating functions of S100B protein: A pilot study
The importance of certain neurotrophic proteins found in maternal blood and milk for breastfed infants has remained ambiguous. This study was conducted to present evidence of the impact of an induced deficit of active S100B protein on neonate development. Newborn mice from two groups of mothers, immunized or sham-immunized against S100B, were subjected to various behavioral tests, and the development of their morphological characteristics was recorded from birth until weaning. Morphological problems, including weight gain and fur coating, a delay in the maturation of neurobehavioral systems and a deficit in neuromotor functions, including visual abilities, somato-sensory and posture reactions, muscular strength, locomotion, and fear/orienting processes, were observed in pups of immunized mothers. The S100B protein of external or internal origin in infants may be considered to be a specific factor that determines neuro- and morphological development and a risk-avoidance ('homeward-bent' or fearful) phenotype. The suppression of activity of the S100B protein results in a slower neonatal development and the formation of a risk-tolerant (fearless) phenotype of the offspring. This study thus considers the mechanism of neuroplastic regulation on the extent of sensation-seeking or risk-taking (homeless-like or fearless) and sensation- or risk-avoidance (home-bound or fearful) features in individual phenotypes.