The Influence of Prenatal Exposure to Quetiapine Fumarate on the Development of Dopaminergic Neurons in the Ventral Midbrain of Mouse Embryos

Walaa F. Alsanie, Sherin Abdelrahman, Majid Alhomrani, Ahmed Gaber, Ebtisam Abdulah Alosimi, Hamza Habeeballah, Heba A. Alkhatabi, Raed I. Felimban, Charlotte Hauser, Hossam H. Tayeb, Abdulhakeem S. Alamri, Abdulwahab Alamri, Bassem M. Raafat, Khaled A. Alswat, Yusuf S. Althobaiti, Yousif A. Asiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of second-generation antipsychotics on prenatal neurodevelopment, apoptotic neurodegeneration, and postnatal developmental delays have been poorly investigated. Even at standard doses, the use of quetiapine fumarate (QEPF) in pregnant women might be detrimental to fetal development. We used primary mouse embryonic neurons to evaluate the disruption of morphogenesis and differentiation of ventral midbrain (VM) neurons after exposure to QEPF. The dopaminergic VM neurons were deliberately targeted due to their roles in cognition, motor activity, and behavior. The results revealed that exposure to QEPF during early brain development decreased the effects of the dopaminergic lineage-related genes Tyrosine hydroxylase(Th), Dopamine receptor D1 (Drd1), Dopamine transporter (Dat), LIM homeobox transcription factor 1 alfa (Lmx1a), and Cell adhesion molecule L1 (Chl1), and the senescent dopaminergic gene Pituitary homeobox 3 (Pitx3). In contrast, Brain derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) and Nuclear receptor-related 1 (Nurr1) expressions were significantly upregulated. Interestingly, QEPF had variable effects on the development of non-dopaminergic neurons in VM. An optimal dose of QEPF (10 µM) was found to insignificantly affect the viability of neurons isolated from the VM. It also instigated a non-significant reduction in adenosine triphosphate formation in these neuronal populations. Exposure to QEPF during the early stages of brain development could also hinder the formation of VM and their structural phenotypes. These findings could aid therapeutic decision-making when prescribing 2nd generation antipsychotics in pregnant populations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12352
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications


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