Early life neglect is an important public health problem which can lead to lasting psychological dysfunction. Good animal models are necessary to understand the mechanisms responsible for the behavioral and anatomical pathology that results. We recently described a novel model of early life neglect, maternal separation with early weaning (MSEW), that produces behavioral changes in the mouse that persist into adulthood. To begin to understand the mechanism by which MSEW leads to these changes we applied cDNA microarray, next-generation RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq), label-free proteomics, multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) proteomics, and methylation analysis to tissue samples obtained from medial prefrontal cortex to determine the molecular changes induced by MSEW that persist into adulthood. The results show that MSEW leads to dysregulation of markers of mature oligodendrocytes and genes involved in protein translation and other categories, an apparent downward biasing of translation, and methylation changes in the promoter regions of selected dysregulated genes. These findings are likely to prove useful in understanding the mechanism by which early life neglect affects brain structure, cognition, and behavior.
Keywords: RNA-sequencing; early life neglect; microarray analysis; oligodendrocytes; prefrontal cortex; proteomic analysis; translation.