Chair: D. Eisner (Manchester, United Kingdom)
|The stressed brain of rodents and humans
1 University Medical Center Groningen, , Groningen, Netherlands
Abstract text :
Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis which results in the release of (nor)adrenaline and cortisol (corticosterone in rodents) respectively. This will change the function of all organs including the brain, from the molecular through cellular level, up to behavior. The effects occur in two time-domains: rapid non-genomic actions which behaviorally promote immediate self-centered solutions; and later, genomic actions which are beneficial from a perspective of the future. The response to stress in adulthood depends on the genetic background of individuals and can predispose them to resilience or vulnerability to stressful conditions. This is influenced - possibly through epigenetic modifications - by stressful events experienced across the lifespan but especially when these events occur during early development. In animal models, brief pharmacological interventions during puberty can counteract the effects of early life stress. Current studies investigate the critical windows for treatment efficacy.