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Claudio Zanettini" Effects of early postnatal environment on emotional and cognitive development of mice".

Abstract :


Early life events are important determinants of behavioral traits in adulthood and have been shown to moderate risk for mental illness.
In rodents, variations in maternal care between individuals and/or strains as well as experimentally induced changes in rearing environment, such as separation from the mother, communal rearing and early weaning, have been associated with changes in anxiety-like behavior, cognitive abilities and stress response. In a series of experiments we investigated the effect early post natal manipulations and gene-environment interaction on emotional and cognitive development in mice . In the first experiment we evaluated the impact of brief maternal separations on a mouse model of anxiety based on the alteration of serotoninergic signaling (5ht1ar KO). In the second experiment, behavioral development in response to an early tactile overstimulation was studied in relation to hippocampal morphology. In the last experiment we proposed a mouse model of panic vulnerability based on a new paradigm of post natal manipulation. The results obtained in these experiments revealed the key role of maternal behavior and mother-infants attachment in guiding emotional and cognitive development and in determining susceptibility to psychopathology.

Selected publications

Intensification of maternal care by double-mothering boosts cognitive function and hippocampal morphology in the adult offspring.
D'Amato FR, Zanettini C, Sgobio C, Sarli C, Carone V, Moles A, Ammassari-Teule M.Hippocampus. 2010 Jan 19. [Epub ahead of print]

Postnatal handling reverses social anxiety in serotonin receptor 1A knockout mice.Zanettini C, Carola V, Lo Iacono L, Moles A, Gross C, D'Amato FR.Genes Brain Behav. 2010 Feb;9(1):26-32. Epub 2009 Aug 8.

Muriel Koehl