1Front Behav Neurosci 2014 -1 8: 388
TitleAddiction and reward-related genes show altered expression in the postpartum nucleus accumbens.
AbstractMotherhood involves a switch in natural rewards, whereby offspring become highly rewarding. Nucleus accumbens (NAC) is a key CNS region for natural rewards and addictions, but to date no study has evaluated on a large scale the events in NAC that underlie the maternal change in natural rewards. In this study we utilized microarray and bioinformatics approaches to evaluate postpartum NAC gene expression changes in mice. Modular Single-set Enrichment Test (MSET) indicated that postpartum (relative to virgin) NAC gene expression profile was significantly enriched for genes related to addiction and reward in five of five independently curated databases (e.g., Malacards, Phenopedia). Over 100 addiction/reward related genes were identified and these included: Per1, Per2, Arc, Homer2, Creb1, Grm3, Fosb, Gabrb3, Adra2a, Ntrk2, Cry1, Penk, Cartpt, Adcy1, Npy1r, Htr1a, Drd1a, Gria1, and Pdyn. ToppCluster analysis found maternal NAC expression profile to be significantly enriched for genes related to the drug action of nicotine, ketamine, and dronabinol. Pathway analysis indicated postpartum NAC as enriched for RNA processing, CNS development/differentiation, and transcriptional regulation. Weighted Gene Coexpression Network Analysis (WGCNA) identified possible networks for transcription factors, including NR1D1, Per2, Fosb, Egr1, and Nr4a1. The postpartum state involves increased risk for mental health disorders and MSET analysis indicated postpartum NAC to be enriched for genes related to depression, bipolar disorder (BPD), and schizophrenia. Mental health related genes included: Fabp7, Grm3, Penk, and NR1D1. We confirmed via quantitative PCR NR1D1, Per2, Grm3, Penk, Drd1a, and Pdyn. This study indicates for the first time that postpartum NAC involves large scale gene expression alterations linked to addiction and reward. Because the postpartum state also involves decreased response to drugs, the findings could provide insights into how to mitigate addictions.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia
2Front Behav Neurosci 2014 -1 8: 110
TitleMedial prefrontal cortex: genes linked to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have altered expression in the highly social maternal phenotype.
AbstractThe transition to motherhood involves CNS changes that modify sociability and affective state. However, these changes also put females at risk for post-partum depression and psychosis, which impairs parenting abilities and adversely affects children. Thus, changes in expression and interactions in a core subset of genes may be critical for emergence of a healthy maternal phenotype, but inappropriate changes of the same genes could put women at risk for post-partum disorders. This study evaluated microarray gene expression changes in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a region implicated in both maternal behavior and psychiatric disorders. Post-partum mice were compared to virgin controls housed with females and isolated for identical durations. Using the Modular Single-set Enrichment Test (MSET), we found that the genetic landscape of maternal mPFC bears statistical similarity to gene databases associated with schizophrenia (5 of 5 sets) and bipolar disorder (BPD, 3 of 3 sets). In contrast to previous studies of maternal lateral septum (LS) and medial preoptic area (MPOA), enrichment of autism and depression-linked genes was not significant (2 of 9 sets, 0 of 4 sets). Among genes linked to multiple disorders were fatty acid binding protein 7 (Fabp7), glutamate metabotropic receptor 3 (Grm3), platelet derived growth factor, beta polypeptide (Pdgfrb), and nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group D, member 1 (NR1D1). RT-qPCR confirmed these gene changes as well as FMS-like tyrosine kinase 1 (Flt1) and proenkephalin (Penk). Systems-level methods revealed involvement of developmental gene networks in establishing the maternal phenotype and indirectly suggested a role for numerous microRNAs and transcription factors in mediating expression changes. Together, this study suggests that a subset of genes involved in shaping the healthy maternal brain may also be dysregulated in mental health disorders and put females at risk for post-partum psychosis with aspects of schizophrenia and BPD.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia