Please join us in congratulating Kelsea Gildawie for winning this year’s student poster competition! Her poster abstract is listed below. Kelsea works with Dr. Heather Brenhouse at Northeastern University.
EARLY LIFE STRESS LEADS TO SEX-SPECIFIC ALTERATIONS IN THE FORMATION OF PERINEURONAL NETS AROUND PARVALBUMIN-EXPRESSING INTERNEURONS IN THE DEVELOPING RAT PREFRONTAL CORTEX (P2-25), Kelsea Gildawie, Northeastern University, Boston, United StatesJennifer Honeycutt, Northeastern University Boston, United States; Heather Brenhouse, Northeastern University, Boston, United States
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Early life experiences play a vital role in the development of the brain and its molecular components. Consequently, early life adversity can have disruptive effects on behavioral and neural development, especially in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a late-maturing region with many subcortical connections involved in emotion regulation. Research demonstrates that the formation of extracellular structures, such as perineuronal nets (PNNs), is essential for proper neurodevelopment. Early life stress via maternal separation (MS) is reported to have sex-specific effects on presence of parvalbumin (PV), which is expressed in fast spiking GABAergic interneurons that PNNs preferentially surround in the PFC. To determine the impact of MS and sex on PNN and PV formation in the PFC, male and female rat pups were separated from their dams for 4 hours per day from postnatal day (P) 2-20. At distinct developmental time points of juvenility (P20), adolescence (P40), and early adulthood (P70), tissue sections containing the prelimbic (PL) and infralimbic (IL) PFC were immunohistochemically stained to visualize PNNs and PV. Z-stacks were obtained using fluorescent microscopy in 4 consecutive sections of the PFC and ImageJ was used to manually count PNNs, PV cells, and PNNs surrounding PV cells. Results demonstrate sex- and age-specific effects of MS on PNN density in the PFC, where females displayed a reduction in the density of PNNs surrounding PV cells following MS. These findings have implications for the role of aberrant PNN and PV development in neural and cognitive dysfunction seen in individuals that have experienced early life adversity.