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Development of individual differences in stress responsiveness: an overview of factors mediating the outcome of early life experiences.

Claessens SE, Daskalakis NP, van der Veen R, Oitzl MS, de Kloet ER, Champagne DL - Psychopharmacology (Berl.) (2010)

Bottom Line: Environmental influences in early life exert powerful effects on later stress phenotypes, but they do not always lead to expression of diseases.Nonshared experiences are important in the outcome of gene × environment interplays in humans.The degree of "match" and "mismatch" between early and later life environments predicts resilience and vulnerability to stress-related diseases, respectively.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Medical Pharmacology, Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, Gorlaeus Laboratories, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands. s.claessens@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl

ABSTRACT

Rationale: Human epidemiology and animal studies have convincingly shown the long-lasting impact of early life experiences on the development of individual differences in stress responsiveness in later life. The interplay between genes and environment underlies this phenomenon.

Objectives: We provide an overview of studies investigating the impact of early life experiences on the development of individual differences in neuroendocrine stress responsiveness in adulthood and address (1) impact of environment on later stress phenotypes, (2) role of genetic factors in modulating the outcome of environment, and (3) role of nonshared environmental experience in the outcome of gene × environment interplays. We present original findings where we investigated the influence of nonshared experiences in terms of individual differences in maternal care received, on the development of stress phenotype in later life in rats.

Results: Environmental influences in early life exert powerful effects on later stress phenotypes, but they do not always lead to expression of diseases. Heterogeneity in response is explained by the role of particular genetic factors in modulating the influence of environment. Nonshared experiences are important in the outcome of gene × environment interplays in humans. We show that nonshared experiences acquired through within-litter variation in maternal care in rats predict the stress phenotype of the offspring.

Conclusion: The outcome of early experience is not deterministic and depends on several environmental and genetic factors interacting in an intricate manner to support stress adaptation. The degree of "match" and "mismatch" between early and later life environments predicts resilience and vulnerability to stress-related diseases, respectively.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Plasma corticosterone (CORT) levels of rats characterized as high or low LG within the litter, expressed as mean ± SEM. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01. Selected high and low LG animals (n = 13) were tested for their endocrine responsiveness to acute novelty stress in (a) adolescence (age pnd 28) and (b) adulthood (age 4.5 months). CORT levels were significantly more elevated in low LG offspring when compared to high LG offspring in response to acute stress. Due to technical issues, we are unable to show basal CORT levels of the animals at adulthood; therefore, in b, only stress-induced CORT levels are displayed
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Fig2: Plasma corticosterone (CORT) levels of rats characterized as high or low LG within the litter, expressed as mean ± SEM. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01. Selected high and low LG animals (n = 13) were tested for their endocrine responsiveness to acute novelty stress in (a) adolescence (age pnd 28) and (b) adulthood (age 4.5 months). CORT levels were significantly more elevated in low LG offspring when compared to high LG offspring in response to acute stress. Due to technical issues, we are unable to show basal CORT levels of the animals at adulthood; therefore, in b, only stress-induced CORT levels are displayed

Mentions: Next, we examined whether individuals that received low and high levels of maternal LG acquired through nonshared experience differ in their neuroendocrine response to acute stress. For this purpose, animals were exposed in adolescence (pnd 28) and adulthood to an acute novelty stressor (10-min exposure to a novel open field). We report that, both in adolescence (Fig. 2a) and adulthood (Fig. 2b), glucocorticoid levels were significantly more elevated in low LG offspring when compared to high LG offspring in response to acute stress. These findings suggest that enduring changes in endocrine response to novelty stress can be “programmed” via variation not only in shared but also in nonshared individual early life history (i.e., individual level of maternal LG). For a detailed description of the methodology and supplementary data of the experiment on stress responsiveness, see Online Resource 2.Fig. 2


Development of individual differences in stress responsiveness: an overview of factors mediating the outcome of early life experiences.

Claessens SE, Daskalakis NP, van der Veen R, Oitzl MS, de Kloet ER, Champagne DL - Psychopharmacology (Berl.) (2010)

Plasma corticosterone (CORT) levels of rats characterized as high or low LG within the litter, expressed as mean ± SEM. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01. Selected high and low LG animals (n = 13) were tested for their endocrine responsiveness to acute novelty stress in (a) adolescence (age pnd 28) and (b) adulthood (age 4.5 months). CORT levels were significantly more elevated in low LG offspring when compared to high LG offspring in response to acute stress. Due to technical issues, we are unable to show basal CORT levels of the animals at adulthood; therefore, in b, only stress-induced CORT levels are displayed
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3045508&req=5

Fig2: Plasma corticosterone (CORT) levels of rats characterized as high or low LG within the litter, expressed as mean ± SEM. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01. Selected high and low LG animals (n = 13) were tested for their endocrine responsiveness to acute novelty stress in (a) adolescence (age pnd 28) and (b) adulthood (age 4.5 months). CORT levels were significantly more elevated in low LG offspring when compared to high LG offspring in response to acute stress. Due to technical issues, we are unable to show basal CORT levels of the animals at adulthood; therefore, in b, only stress-induced CORT levels are displayed
Mentions: Next, we examined whether individuals that received low and high levels of maternal LG acquired through nonshared experience differ in their neuroendocrine response to acute stress. For this purpose, animals were exposed in adolescence (pnd 28) and adulthood to an acute novelty stressor (10-min exposure to a novel open field). We report that, both in adolescence (Fig. 2a) and adulthood (Fig. 2b), glucocorticoid levels were significantly more elevated in low LG offspring when compared to high LG offspring in response to acute stress. These findings suggest that enduring changes in endocrine response to novelty stress can be “programmed” via variation not only in shared but also in nonshared individual early life history (i.e., individual level of maternal LG). For a detailed description of the methodology and supplementary data of the experiment on stress responsiveness, see Online Resource 2.Fig. 2

Bottom Line: Environmental influences in early life exert powerful effects on later stress phenotypes, but they do not always lead to expression of diseases.Nonshared experiences are important in the outcome of gene × environment interplays in humans.The degree of "match" and "mismatch" between early and later life environments predicts resilience and vulnerability to stress-related diseases, respectively.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Medical Pharmacology, Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, Gorlaeus Laboratories, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands. s.claessens@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl

ABSTRACT

Rationale: Human epidemiology and animal studies have convincingly shown the long-lasting impact of early life experiences on the development of individual differences in stress responsiveness in later life. The interplay between genes and environment underlies this phenomenon.

Objectives: We provide an overview of studies investigating the impact of early life experiences on the development of individual differences in neuroendocrine stress responsiveness in adulthood and address (1) impact of environment on later stress phenotypes, (2) role of genetic factors in modulating the outcome of environment, and (3) role of nonshared environmental experience in the outcome of gene × environment interplays. We present original findings where we investigated the influence of nonshared experiences in terms of individual differences in maternal care received, on the development of stress phenotype in later life in rats.

Results: Environmental influences in early life exert powerful effects on later stress phenotypes, but they do not always lead to expression of diseases. Heterogeneity in response is explained by the role of particular genetic factors in modulating the influence of environment. Nonshared experiences are important in the outcome of gene × environment interplays in humans. We show that nonshared experiences acquired through within-litter variation in maternal care in rats predict the stress phenotype of the offspring.

Conclusion: The outcome of early experience is not deterministic and depends on several environmental and genetic factors interacting in an intricate manner to support stress adaptation. The degree of "match" and "mismatch" between early and later life environments predicts resilience and vulnerability to stress-related diseases, respectively.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus