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Maternal separation is associated with strain-specific responses to stress and epigenetic alterations to Nr3c1, Avp, and Nr4a1 in mouse

Kember, RL and Dempster, EL and Lee, THA and Schalkwyk, LC and Mill, J and Fernandes, C (2012) 'Maternal separation is associated with strain-specific responses to stress and epigenetic alterations to Nr3c1, Avp, and Nr4a1 in mouse.' Brain and Behavior, 2 (4). 455 - 467. ISSN 2162-3279

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Abstract

Stressful events early in life have been widely linked to behavioral phenotypes and have been implicated in the development of psychiatric disorders. Using a maternal separation paradigm, we investigated phenotypic and epigenetic changes following early life stress in two inbred strains of mice, C57BL/6J and DBA/2J. We found an increase in the corticosterone response to stress in male, C57BL/6J mice that had undergone maternal separation compared to controls. In addition, early life stress induced a number of mild but significant behavioral changes, many of which were sex and strain dependent. Following maternal separation anxiety was decreased in males but increased in DBA/2J females, DBA/2J males displayed reduced exploration of a novel object, and baseline activity was altered in males of both strains. Finally, we examined DNA methylation levels in the hippocampus across promoter regions of Nr3c1, Avp, and Nr4a1, and found altered levels at several CpG sites in maternally separated male mice compared to controls. This study contributes to a growing body of recent literature suggesting that epigenetic changes may mediate the impact of early life stress on behavior. In particular, we establish that the phenotypic and epigenetic responses to an adverse environment differ as a function of genetic background. Using a maternal separation paradigm, we investigated phenotypic and epigenetic changes following early life stress in two inbred strains of mice, C57BL/6J and DBA/2J. We found an increase in the corticosterone response to stress in male, C57BL/6J mice that had undergone maternal separation, and early life stress induced a number of mild but significant behavioral changes, many of which were dependent on genetic background. © 2012 The Authors. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Biological Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2014 10:28
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:46
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/11045

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