In response to an acute restraint stress, however, neonatal handling was shown to result in sex-specific effects, such that restraint-induced corticosterone responses are lower in handled males, but higher in handled females, compared to controls (Park et al., 2003). Thus, it appears that neonatal handling, and presumably subsequent changes Dabrafenib price in maternal care, lead to changes in adolescent HPA stress reactivity in a sex-dependent manner. It is unclear if this early life handling manipulation would protect males specifically from adolescent stress-induced changes in neurobehavioral function, but such manipulations have been shown to reduce anxiety-like behaviors, while increasing active coping behaviors, in adult males later exposed to stress (Papaioannou
et al., 2002 and Meerlo et al., 1999). Moreover, whether neonatally handled females would show greater Imatinib vulnerability to adolescent stress exposure is also unknown. Future studies will need to parse out these effects of early life experiences and sex, and whether they contribute to resilience (or vulnerability) to subsequent stress exposure during adolescence. For instance, do male or female offspring receiving greater levels of maternal licking and grooming, due to either natural variations in care or experimental manipulation, show greater resilience to stress-induce perturbations during adolescence? If so, would these effects of maternal care be mediated by reduced HPA reactivity in the adolescent offspring? Though not studying early life experiences on later stress reactivity per se, a recent experiment in first male mice did show an association between reduced HPA function following adolescent stress and changes in adult emotionality. Schmidt and colleagues found that adult male mice that were able to maintain lower basal corticosterone levels following chronic adolescent social stress
(cage mates changed twice a week) showed less anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors in adulthood than mice that responded to the adolescent stress with elevated basal levels of corticosterone ( Schmidt et al., 2010). Therefore, it appears that animals with lower HPA reactivity to adolescent stress exposure experience fewer negative outcomes in adulthood, at least in the context of these emotional behaviors. Though not reported in the study ( Schmidt et al., 2010), it would be interesting to know whether differential levels of the quantity or consistency of maternal care predicted which mice showed less reactivity to chronic stress during adolescence. Another factor that may impart resilience to stress during adolescence may be previously experiencing stress itself.
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