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Epigenome priming dictates transcription response and white matter fate upon perinatal inflammation

By Anne-Laure Schang, Juliette van Steenwinckel, Julia Lipecki, Charlotte Rich-Griffin, Kate Woolley-Allen, Nigel Dyer, Tifenn Le Charpentier, Patrick Schafer, Bobbi Fleiss, Sascha Ott, Delara Saberan-Djoneidi, Valerie Mezger, Pierre Gressens

Posted 18 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/411702

Inflammatory insults accompanying prematurity provokes diffuse white matter injury (DWMI) which is associated with increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders: pre-term infants have a 10 to 18-fold increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorders, compared to term infants. DWMI is due to maturation arrest in oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). Using integrated genome-wide approaches in a validated mouse perinatal model of DWMI, induced by systemic- and neuro-inflammation based on repeated interleukin-1B administrations, we show that neuroinflammation induces limited epigenomic disturbances in OPCs. In contrast, we unravel marked transcriptomic alterations of genes of the immune/inflammatory pathways, which are expressed in unstressed OPCs and physiologically downregulated along OPC maturation. Consistently, we observe that transcription factors of the inflammatory pathways occupy DNA both in unstressed and inflamed OPCs. Thus, rather than altering genome-wide chromatin accessibility, neuroinflammation takes advantage of open chromatin regions and deeply counteracts the stage-dependent downregulation of these active transcriptional programs. Therefore, our study opens new avenues for the future development of targeted approaches to protect preterm brains.

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