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Brain Struct Funct. 2012 Apr;217(2):459-72. doi: 10.1007/s00429-011-0350-9. Epub 2011 Oct 8.

Neuroanatomical changes in a mouse model of early life neglect.

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Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511-6624, USA.


Using a novel mouse model of early life neglect and abuse (ENA) based on maternal separation with early weaning, George et al. (BMC Neurosci 11:123, 2010) demonstrated behavioral abnormalities in adult mice, and Bordner et al. (Front Psychiatry 2(18):1-18, 2011) described concomitant changes in mRNA and protein expression. Using the same model, here we report neuroanatomical changes that include smaller brain size and abnormal inter-hemispheric asymmetry, decreases in cortical thickness, abnormalities in subcortical structures, and white matter disorganization and atrophy most severely affecting the left hemisphere. Because of the similarities between the neuroanatomical changes observed in our mouse model and those described in human survivors of ENA, this novel animal model is potentially useful for studies of human ENA too costly or cumbersome to be carried out in primates. Moreover, our current knowledge of the mouse genome makes this model particularly suited for targeted anatomical, molecular, and pharmacological experimentation not yet possible in other species.

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