- Early-life stress mediated modulation of adult neurogenesis and behavior
- Behavioural Brain Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 227 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Early life is a period of unique sensitivity during which experience can confer enduring effects on brain structure and function. During early perinatal life the quality of the surrounding environment and experiences, in particular the parent-child relationship, is associated with emotional and cognitive development later in life. For instance, adverse early-life experience is correlated with an increased vulnerability to develop psychopathologies and aging-related cognitive decline. These are thought to be mediated by acute and long-lasting effects on the, at that time still developing, stress-neuroendocrine and cognitive systems. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is involved in learning and memory while both regulation of the stress response as well as early-life stress is known to permanently reduce neurogenesis, and to be implicated in these functional deficits.
In order to increase our understanding of the influence of the perinatal environment on the long-lasting programming of neurogenesis, we here discuss immediate and lasting effects of various adverse early-life experiences on hippocampal neurogenesis and the associated behavioral alterations. Considering the persistence of these effects, the underlying molecular mechanisms, with focus on the potential epigenetic mechanisms will be discussed as well. Finally, special attention will be paid to the prominent sex differences in early-life stress-induced alterations in neurogenesis.
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