Background. Exposure to early life adversities (ELA) can influence a plethora of biological mechanisms leading to stress-related disorders later in life through epigenetic mechanisms, such as microRNAs (miRs). MiR-34 is a critical modulator of stress response and stress-induced pathologies and a link between ELA and miR-34a has been reported. Methods. Here using our well-established model of ELA (Repeated Cross Fostering) we investigate the behavioral long-term effects of ELA in male and female mice. We also assess basal and ELA-induced miR-34a expression in adult mice and investigate whether ELA affects the later miR-34a response to adult acute stress exposure across brain areas (medial preFrontal Cortex, Dorsal Raphe Nuclei) and peripheral organs (heart, plasma) in animals from both sexes. Finally, based on our previous data demonstrating the critical role of Dorsal Raphe Nuclei miR-34a expression in serotonin (5-HT) transmission, we also investigated prefrontal-accumbal 5-HT outflow induced by acute stress exposure in ELA and Control females by in vivo intracerebral microdialysis. Results. ELA not just induces a depressive-like state as well as enduring changes in miR-34a expression, but also alters miR-34a expression in response to adult acute stress exclusively in females. Finally, altered DRN miR-34a expression is associated with prefrontal-accumbal 5-HT release under acute stress exposure in females. Limitations. A translational study on humans is necessary to verify the results obtained in our animal models of ELA-induced depression. Conclusions. This is the first evidence showing long-lasting sex related effects of ELA on brain and peripheral miR-34a expression levels in an animal model of depression-like phenotype.
The long-lasting effects of early life adversities are sex dependent: The signature of miR-34a / D'Addario, SEBASTIAN LUCA; Municchi, Diana; Mancini, Camilla; Ielpo, Donald; Babicola, Lucy; DI SEGNI, Matteo; LO IACONO, Luisa; Ferlazzo, Fabio; Cifani, Carlo; Andolina, Diego; Ventura, Rossella. - In: JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS. - ISSN 0165-0327. - (2022). [10.1016/j.jad.2022.11.035]