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Early life stress such as maternal separation (MS), is a major risk factor for developing psychiatric disorders in adulthood. Connexin 43 (CX43), the main type of connexins expressed in astrocytes, has been indicated to participate in depression disorders. Nevertheless, the role of CX43 in MS-induced cognitive impairment and astrocyte dysfunction is unclear. Neonatal C57BL/6 mice were exposed to MS to mimic early life stress. Adeno-associated virus carrying CX43 was inoculated into mice for CX43 overexpression. Sucrose preference test, forced swim test and Morris water maze were performed for evaluating depression-like behaviors and spatial learning and memory of mice in adulthood. Real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was conducted to detect CX43 mRNA expression in mouse brain. Immunofluorescence staining and western blotting were used for measuring expression levels of astrocytic markers in murine hippocampal dentate gyrus. The results showed that overexpressing CX43 attenuated MS exposure-induced depression-like behaviors and decrease in spatial learning and memory in mice. Upregulating CX43 alleviated MS exposure-induced downregulation of astrocytic markers. Collectively, CX43 overexpression attenuates cognitive deficits and astrocyte dysfunction in mice exposed to MS. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


Xiao Wu, Lijuan Li, Bingling Zhou, Junli Wang, Wei Shao. Connexin 43 regulates astrocyte dysfunction and cognitive deficits in early life stress-treated mice. Experimental brain research. 2023 Apr;241(4):1207-1214

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PMID: 36939885

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