The impact of child abuse on cerebral connectivity.
15:00 - 16:00
Dr Naguib Mechawar
Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, Canada
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
Juan Pablo Lopez
Child abuse has devastating and long-lasting consequences, considerably increasing the lifetime risk of negative mental health outcomes such as depression and suicide. Yet, the neurobiological processes underlying this heightened vulnerability remain poorly understood. We recently investigated the impact of child abuse on cerebral white matter organization using well-characterized postmortem brain samples from adult depressed suicides having suffered from child abuse, depressed suicides without child abuse, and matched sudden-death controls.
I will present the results of this study, which indicate that epigenetic, transcriptomic, and cellular adaptations occur specifically in the anterior cingulate cortex of individuals having experienced child abuse. These findings suggest that child abuse, in part through epigenetic reprogramming of oligodendrocytes, may lastingly disrupt cortical myelination, a fundamental feature of cerebral connectivity.