- Programming of the brain by metabolic and nutritional factors after early-life stress
- Modulations by early nutritional interventions
- Award date
- 20 March 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Early life is a critical period in which the brain can be programmed for life. In this developmental period, adverse environmental factors, such as stress, can lead to higher vulnerabilities to develop cognitive as well as metabolic disorders in adulthood. However, the role of metabolic and nutritional factors in the early-life stress (ES) induced changes on the brain is yet unclear. Moreover, effective nutritional interventions to prevent the ES-induced disorders are currently unavailable.
The main goals of this thesis were to; i) gain insight into the short- and long-term sex-specific effects of ES on the brain and the involvement of metabolic and nutritional factors, and ii) to use nutritional intervention to prevent the lasting adverse effects of ES on the brain and metabolism.
This thesis contains important evidence that ES leads to lasting (sex-specific) alterations on metabolic and nutritional factors that are associated with ES-induced cognitive impairments. Moreover, this thesis highlights the importance of nutrition in the early life period to prevent the ES-induced cognitive impairments in adulthood.
Overall, this thesis does not only increase our knowledge about the contribution of key factors after ES that result in lasting alterations and the mechanisms underlying these effects, but importantly also provides evidence of effective nutritional interventions to prevent the ES-induced cognitive impairments. Excitingly, this creates promising novel opportunities for non-invasive, nutritional interventions, particularly in vulnerable populations exposed to early stress.
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