Alterations in retrotransposition, synaptic connectivity, and myelination implicated by transcriptomic changes following maternal immune activation in non-human primates

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
N. F. PageDaniel H Geschwind


Maternal immune activation (MIA) is a proposed risk factor for multiple neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. However, the molecular and neurobiological mechanisms through which MIA imparts risk for these disorders remain poorly understood. A recently developed nonhuman primate model of exposure to the viral mimic poly:ICLC during pregnancy shows abnormal social and repetitive behaviors and elevated striatal dopamine, a molecular hallmark of human psychosis, providing an unprecedented opportunity for mechanistic dissection. We performed RNA-sequencing across four psychiatrically-relevant brain regions (prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, hippocampus, and primary visual cortex) from 3.5-4-year old male MIA-exposed and control offspring, an age comparable to mid adolescence in humans. We identify 266 unique genes differentially expressed (DE) in at least one brain region with the greatest number observed in hippocampus. Co-expression networks identified region-specific alterations in synaptic signaling and oligodendrocytes. Across regions, we observed temporal and regional differences, but transcriptomic changes were largely similar across 1st or 2nd trimester MIA exposures, including for the t...Continue Reading

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