Delineation of key molecules that act epigenetically to transduce diverse stressors into established patterns of disease would facilitate the advent of preventive and disease-modifying therapeutics for a host of neurological disorders. Herein, we demonstrate that selective overexpression of the stress protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in astrocytes of novel GFAP.HMOX1 transgenic mice results in subcortical oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage/autophagy; diminished neuronal reelin content (males); induction of Nurr1 and Pitx3 with attendant suppression of their targeting miRNAs, 145 and 133b; increased tyrosine hydroxylase and α-synuclein expression with downregulation of the targeting miR-7b of the latter; augmented dopamine and serotonin levels in basal ganglia; reduced D 1 receptor binding in nucleus accumbens; axodendritic pathology and altered hippocampal cytoarchitectonics; impaired neurovascular coupling; attenuated prepulse inhibition (males); and hyperkinetic behavior. The GFAP.HMOX1 neurophenotype bears resemblances to human schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental conditions and implicates glial HO-1 as a prime transducer of inimical (endogenous and environmental) influences on the development of monoaminergic circuitry. Containment of the glial HO-1 response to noxious stimuli at strategic points of the life cycle may afford novel opportunities for the effective management of human neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative conditions.
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