Whereas genetic factors contribute crucially to brain function, early-life events, including stress, exert long-lasting influence on neuronal function. Here, we focus on the hippocampus as the target of these early-life events because of its crucial role in learning and memory. Using a novel immature-rodent model, we describe the deleterious consequences of chronic early-life 'psychological' stress on hippocampus-dependent cognitive tasks. We review the cellular mechanisms involved and discuss the roles of stress-mediating molecules, including corticotropin releasing hormone, in the process by which stress impacts the structure and function of hippocampal neurons.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems