Astroglial cells are key players in the development and maintenance of neurons and neuronal networks. Astroglia express steroid hormone receptors and show rapid responses to hormonal manipulations. However, despite important sex differences in the cortex and hippocampus, few studies have examined sex differences in astroglial cells in telencephalic development. To characterize the cortical astroglial translatome in male and female mice across postnatal development, we use translating ribosome affinity purification together with RNA sequencing and immunohistochemistry to phenotype astroglia at six developmental time points. Overall, we find two distinct astroglial phenotypes between early (P1-P7) and late development (P14-adult), independent of sex. We also find sex differences in gene expression patterns across development that peak at P7 and appear to result from males reaching a mature astroglial phenotype earlier than females. These developmental sex differences could have an impact on the construction of neuronal networks and windows of vulnerability to perturbations and disease.
Keywords: astrocyte; cortex; development; females; gene regulation; glia; sex; systems biology; translatome.
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