Alterations of Gray Matter Volume and White Matter Integrity in Maternal Deprivation Monkeys

Publication date: 1 August 2018
Source:Neuroscience, Volume 384
Author(s): Jiaojian Wang, Xiaoli Feng, Jing Wu, Sangma Xie, Ling Li, Liqi Xu, Yuhua Zhang, Xiaofeng Ren, Zhengfei Hu, Longbao Lv, Xintian Hu, Tianzi Jiang
Maternal deprivation (MD) in rhesus monkeys has been demonstrated to be an effective model to mimic early adversity in humans because of the close phylogenetic similarity affinity. Although behavioral and hormonal abnormalities have been observed in MD monkeys, the neurobiological underpinning of the long-term deleterious effect of MD on monkeys is still unclear. In this study, we assessed emotional changes and socio-behavioral abnormalities induced by long-term MD and assessed structural alterations of gray matter volume (GMV) and white matter integrity (WMI) in 15 MD rhesus monkeys and in 15 age-, gender-matched normal controls (NC) using voxel-based morphology and voxel-based analysis methods. We found increased stereotypical behavioral durations and decreased social grooming durations in MD monkeys. Reduced GMV in the primary visual cortex (V1) and increased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the left posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) was also found in MD monkeys. Moreover, the mean FA values in pSTS showed positive correlation with the stereotypical behavioral durations in MD monkeys and negative correlation with social grooming durations in NC monkeys. Our findings indicated that the deleterious effects of MD on rhesus monkeys resulted in structural abnormalities in the visual cortex and premature myelination in the pSTS. These findings provide new insights into understanding the impact of maternal deprivation on the neurological basis of brain development.