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Variations in maternal care profoundly influence multiple aspects of offspring development. These maternal effects are observed across a wide range of species yet we have a limited understanding of the neurobiological basis of maternal care and its effects on offspring neurodevelopment.
The lab uses optogenetic manipulations paired with next generation sequencing to characterize the critical brain circuits and transcriptional pathways required for the induction and maintenance of maternal behavior.
The lab is also affiliated with the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health. The Centre provides an internationally unique research platform integrating neuroscience, computational biology, mathematics/statistics, genetics, epigenetics, bioinformatics, and epidemiology, together with advanced computing capacity and IT technology.
1. Zhang T-Y, Keown CL, Wen X, Li J, Vousden DA, Anacker C, et al. (2018): Environmental enrichment increases transcriptional and epigenetic differentiation between mouse dorsal and ventral dentate gyrus. Nat Commun. 9: 298.
2. Parent C, Nguyen H-B, Wen X, Diorio J, Meaney MJ, Zhang TY (2017): Maternal care modulates the febrile response to lipopolysaccharide through differences in glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity in the rat. Brain Behav Immun. . doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.05.007.
3. Parent C, Wen X, Dhir SK, Ryan R, Diorio J, Zhang T-Y (2017): Maternal care associates with differences in morphological complexity in the medial preoptic area. Behav Brain Res. 326: 22–32.
4. Zhang TY, Labonté B, Wen XL, Turecki G, Meaney MJ (2013): Epigenetic mechanisms for the early environmental regulation of hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor gene expression in rodents and humans. Neuropsychopharmacology. 38: 111–123.
5. Bagot RC, Zhang T-Y, Wen X, Nguyen TTT, Nguyen H-B, Diorio J, et al. (2012): Variations in postnatal maternal care and the epigenetic regulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 expression and hippocampal function in the rat. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109 Suppl 2: 17200–17207.
6. Zhang T-Y, Hellstrom IC, Bagot RC, Wen X, Diorio J, Meaney MJ (2010): Maternal care and DNA methylation of a glutamic acid decarboxylase 1 promoter in rat hippocampus. J Neurosci. 30: 13130–13137.
7. Shahrokh DK, Zhang T-Y, Diorio J, Gratton A, Meaney MJ (2010): Oxytocin-dopamine interactions mediate variations in maternal behavior in the rat. Endocrinology. 151: 2276–2286.
8. Zhang T-Y, Meaney MJ (2010): Epigenetics and the environmental regulation of the genome and its function. Annu Rev Psychol. 61: 439–66, C1–3.