Stress is an important physiological regulator of brain function in young and adult mammals. The mechanisms underlying regulation of the consequences of stress, and in particular severe chronic stress, are thus important to investigate. These consequences most likely involve changes in synaptic function of brain areas being part of neural networks that regulate responses to stress. Cell adhesion molecules have been shown to regulate synaptic function in the adult and we were thus interested to investigate a regulatory mechanism that could influence expression of three adhesion molecules of the immunoglobulin superfamily (NCAM, L1 and CHL1) after exposure of early postnatal and adult mice to repeated stress. We hypothesized that reduction of adhesion molecule expression after chronic stress, as observed previously in vivo, could be due to gene silencing of the three molecules by DNA methylation. Although adhesion molecule expression was reduced after exposure of C57BL/6 mice to stress, thus validating our stress paradigm as imposing changes in adhesion molecule expression, we did not observe differences in methylation of CpG islands in the promoter regions of NCAM, L1 and CHL1, nor in the promoter region of the glucocorticoid receptor in the hippocampus, the expression of which at the protein level was also reduced after stress. We must therefore infer that severe stress in mice of the C57BL/6 strain downregulates adhesion molecule levels by mechanisms that do not relate to DNA methylation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology