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Séminaire - Roser Nadal"Early life stressors: vulnerability or resilience?"

Abstract :


 Early life stress (ELS) in rodents has profound long-term effects that are partially mediated by changes in maternal care.
ELS not only induces “detrimental” effects in adulthood, increasing psychopathology, but also promotes resilience to further stressors. Some studies from our laboratory and others are reviewed. In our laboratory, several models of ELS in rats decrease at adulthood the ACTH response to novelty and swim stress and increase active behavioral coping in the forced swim test in both genders. Some of the effects of ELS are clearly sex-dependent.

Cognitive impulsivity (as measured by a delay-discounting task) was decreased only in females, whereas impulsive action (as measured by the five choice serial reaction time task or 5CSRTT) was not affected. In other experiments, ELS decreases in females the incentive salience induced by a cue predictive of reward in a pavlovian conditioning paradigm.

In a contextual fear paradigm, also in females, ELS decreases the generalization of fear induced by contexts different to the one that has been previously paired with an electric shock, as measured by ACTH. At the same time, “detrimental” effects have been found in other tests. In the 5CSRTT, attention was impaired in both genders, and in females, ELS increased compulsive-like behavior.

 In addition, we have consistently found that several models of ELS induce an enhancement in maternal care that may “buffer” the “negative” effects of ELS in a context-dependent manner. Understanding the factors that promote resilience versus vulnerability to stress is an important challenge of current Neuroscience.

Selected publications

Fuentes S, Carrasco J, Armario A, Nadal R. Behavioral and neuroendocrine consequences of juvenile stress combined with adult immobilization in male rats. Horm Behav. 2014,66(3):475-86.


Fodor A, Klausz B, Pintér O, Daviu N, Rabasa C, Rotllant D, Balazsfi D, Kovacs KB, Nadal R, Zelena D. Maternal neglect with reduced depressive-like behavior and blunted c-fos activation in Brattleboro mothers, the role of central vasopressin. Horm Behav. 2012, 62(4):539-51.


Llorente-Berzal A, Fuentes S, Gagliano H, López-Gallardo M, Armario A, Viveros MP, Nadal R. Sex-dependent effects of maternal deprivation and adolescent cannabinoid treatment on adult rat behaviour. Addict Biol. 2011, 16(4):624-37.


Behavioral and endocrine consequences of simultaneous exposure to two different stressors in rats: interaction or independence?Muñoz-Abellán C, Rabasa C, Daviu N, Nadal R, Armario A
PloS one (2011)

Individual differences and the characterization of animal models of psychopathology: a strong challenge and a good opportunity.Armario A, Nadal R
Frontiers in pharmacology (2013)

Sex-dependent effects of an early life treatment in rats that increases maternal care: vulnerability or resilience?Fuentes S, Daviu N, Gagliano H, Garrido P, Zelena D, Monasterio N et al.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (2014)

Not all stressors are equal: behavioral and endocrine evidence for development of contextual fear conditioning after a single session of footshocks but not of immobilization.Daviu N, Delgado-Morales R, Nadal R, Armario A
Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience (2012)