Session: 9

PS9-07 | Modulation of the Prefrontal Cortex-Amygdala circuit by early-life stress exposure and its impact on the stress response in prepubertal and adult rats.

Jazmín Grillo Balboa

Laboratorio de Programación Perinatal del Neurodesarrollo/ Instituto de Biología Celular y Neurociencias “Prof. E. De Robertis”, Facultad de Medicina/ Universidad de Buenos Aires

Chronic stress constitutes a major risk factor for the development of several affective disorders such as depression, anxiety and substance use disorder in adult individuals. The molecular mechanisms underlying the vulnerability to develop these diseases are thought to be related to alterations in the stress response, as well as dysregulations in brain areas that modulate its action and are fundamental in emotional processing. Among them, the role of the amygdala (Amy) and the prefrontal cortex (PFC) are crucial. The first stages of life are a fundamental period in the maturation of these structures, since genetic and environmental factors can reprogram their functioning and impact on the individual’s subsequent response to stress. The aim of this project is to assess the impact of early-life stress on the stress response of female and male Wistar rats throughout the ontogeny. We will mainly focus on the PFC-Amy circuit since its dysregulation has been linked to the pathophysiology of affective disorders related to a malfunction of the stress system. We hypothesize that early-life stress will modify the structure and functioning of the PFC-Amy circuit leading to variations in the stress system of the offspring in a biphasic way: in the short term, these modifications could confer the exposed individuals an adaptive advantage in hostile environments; However, in the long term they might be deleterious, accentuating a predisposition to suffer from behavioral disorders.