Author(s): Blaze J, Roth TL, Blaze J, Roth TL
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Abstract Quality of maternal care experienced during infancy is a key factor that can confer vulnerability or resilience to psychiatric disorders later in life. Research continues to indicate that early-life experiences can affect developmental trajectories through epigenetic alterations capable of affecting gene regulation and neural plasticity. Previously, our lab has shown that experiences within an adverse caregiving environment (i.e. maltreatment) produce aberrant DNA methylation patterns at various gene loci in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of developing and adult rats. This study aimed to determine whether caregiver maltreatment likewise affects expression levels of several genes important in regulating DNA methylation patterns (Dnmt1, Dnmt3a, MeCP2, Gadd45b, and Hdac1). While we observed minimal changes in gene expression within the mPFC of developing rats, we observed expression changes for all genes in adult animals. Specifically, exposure to maltreatment produced a significant decrease in mRNA levels of all epigenetic regulators in adult males and a significant decrease in Gadd45b in adult females. Our results here provide further empirical support for the long-term and sex-specific epigenetic consequences of caregiver maltreatment on the mPFC. Copyright © 2013 ISDN. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Int J Dev Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism