Neurobiological consequences of juvenile stress: A GABAergic perspective on risk and resilience

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Abstract

ALBRECHT, A., MÜLLER, I., ARDI, Z., ÇALIŞKAN, G., GRUBER, D., IVENS, S., SEGAL, M., BEHR, J., HEINEMANN, U., STORK, O., and RICHTER-LEVIN, G. Neurobiological consequences of juvenile stress: A GABAergic perspective on risk and resilience. NEUROSCI BIOBEHAV REV XXX-XXX, 2016.– Childhood adversity is among the most potent risk factors for developing mood and anxiety disorders later in life. Therefore, understanding how stress during childhood shapes and rewires the brain may optimize preventive and therapeutic strategies for these disorders.

To this end, animal models of stress exposure in rodents during their post-weaning and pre-pubertal life phase have been developed. Such ‘juvenile stress’ has a long-lasting impact on mood and anxiety-like behavior and on stress coping in adulthood, accompanied by alterations of the GABAergic system within core regions for the stress processing such as the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. While many regionally diverse molecular and electrophysiological changes are observed, not all of them correlate with juvenile stress-induced behavioral disturbances. It rather seems that certain juvenile stress-induced alterations reflect the system’s attempts to maintain homeostasis and thus promote stress resilience. Analysis tools such as individual behavioral profiling may allow the association of behavioral and neurobiological alterations more clearly and the dissection of alterations related to the pathology from those related to resilience.

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