Anastasia Diamantopoulou

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Mother-pup interactions constitute an important component of environmental stimulation of the offspring during the neonatal period. Employing maternal contact as either a positive reinforcer or, its denial, as a frustrative, non-rewarding stimulus, we developed a novel experimental paradigm involving learning by rat neonates of a T-maze. When trained under(More)
Prolonged maternal separation (MS) activates the neonate's hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis causing elevated basal and stress-induced corticosterone levels that may initiate amygdala-dependent fear learning. Here we test the hypothesis that the adult fearful phenotype is programmed by the pup's stressful experience during prolonged MS rather than by(More)
Brief neonatal handling permanently alters hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function resulting in increased ability to cope with stress. Since stress is known to affect cognitive abilities, in the present study we investigated the effect of brief (15 min) handling on learning and memory in the Morris water maze, following exposure to an acute restraint(More)
Early life experiences, particularly mother-infant interactions, have been shown to influence adult coping and learning abilities via gene-environment interactions. We have developed a paradigm, in which mother contact is used as either a positive or a negative reinforcer in a T-maze, during postnatal days 10-13. In both neonates receiving (RER) or denied(More)
Several neuropsychiatric disorders are associated with cognitive and social dysfunction. Postmortem studies of patients with schizophrenia have revealed specific changes in area CA2, a long-overlooked region of the hippocampus recently found to be critical for social memory formation. To examine how area CA2 is altered in psychiatric illness, we used the(More)
BACKGROUND Manipulations of the early environment are linked to long-lasting alterations of emotionality and social capabilities. Denial of rewarding mother-pup interactions in early life of rats could serve as model for child neglect. Negative consequences for social competence in later life, accompanied by changes in the serotonergic system would be(More)
Experiences during critical periods, such as the neonatal and adolescence, play a critical role in determining adult stress-coping behavior. Based on the aforementioned we developed an experimental protocol, which included a neonatal experience and a social stress during adolescence. The serotonergic system is known as an important modulator of coping(More)
The mesolimbic/mesocortical dopaminergic pathway plays a pivotal role in the reward system. During the neonatal period the mother is the main source of rewarding stimuli. We have developed an experimental model in which rat pups learn a T-maze during the neonatal period (postnatal day (PND) 10-13) using contact with the mother as the reward. One group of(More)
Early experiences affect brain development and thus adult brain function and behavior. We employed a novel early experience model involving denial (DER) or receipt of expected reward (RER) through maternal contact in a T-maze. Exposure to the DER experience for the first time, on postnatal day 10 (PND10), was stressful for the pups, as assessed by increased(More)
The mother is the most salient stimulus for the developing pups and a number of early experience models employ manipulation of the mother-infant interaction. We have developed a new model which in addition to changes in maternal behavior includes a learning component on the part of the pups. More specifically, pups were trained in a T-maze and either(More)