Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neurosci Lett. 2014 Apr 30;566:131-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2014.02.023. Epub 2014 Feb 22.

Early life stress disrupts social behavior and prefrontal cortex parvalbumin interneurons at an earlier time-point in females than in males.

Author information

Northeastern University, Psychology Department, 125 NI, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States.
McLean Hospital, 115 Mill St, Belmont, MA 02478, United States.
Northeastern University, Psychology Department, 125 NI, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States. Electronic address:


Early life stress exposure (ELS) yields risk for psychiatric disorders that might occur though a population-specific mechanism that impacts prefrontal cortical development. Sex differences in ELS effects are largely unknown and are also essential to understand social and cognitive development. ELS can cause dysfunction within parvalbumin (PVB)-containing inhibitory interneurons in the prefrontal cortex and in several prefrontal cortex-mediated behaviors including social interaction. Social behavior deficits are often the earliest observed changes in psychiatric disorders, therefore the time-course and causation of social interaction deficits after ELS are important to determine. PVB interneuron dysfunction can disrupt social behavior, and has been correlated in males with elevated markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, such as cyclooxygenase-2 after ELS. Here, we measured the effects of maternal separation ELS on social interaction behaviors in males and females. Prefrontal cortex PVB and cyclooxygenase-2 were also measured in juveniles and adolescents using Western blots. ELS led to social interaction alterations earlier in females than males. Sexually dimorphic behavioral changes were consistent with prefrontal cortex PVB loss after ELS. PVB levels were decreased in ELS-exposed juvenile females, while males exposed to ELS do not display parvalbumin decreases until adolescence. Early behavioral and PVB changes in females did not appear to be mediated through cyclooxygenase-2, since levels were not affected in ELS females. Therefore, these data suggest that ELS affects males and females differently and with distinct developmental profiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center