Wei, L. et al. (2012)
Early Life Stress Inhibits Expression of a Novel Innate Immune Pathway in the Developing Hippocampus
Neurospychopharmacology 37: 567-580
- Abuse and neglect in early childhood causes a stress response in which a hormone, corticosterone, is released, and this affects the development of the growing brain.
- Although it is clearly impossible to do controlled experiments on human children, infant mammals can be used as substitutes.
- The researchers examined differences in the levels of protein expressed in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in emotion and memory, between mice separated from their mothers in early infancy and those reared normally.
- The expression levels of a protein called LBP, which is involved in the immune system and regulated by corticosterone, were found to be decreased in mice who had been separated from their mothers and thus experienced early-life stress.