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Variations in maternal care have been widely considered as a critical influence in development. In the rat, variations in maternal behavior, particularly in licking/grooming, regulate the development of endocrine, emotional and cognitive responses to stress. These studies form the basis of a potentially useful model for the study of maternal effects in(More)
Human brain development occurs within a socioeconomic context and childhood socioeconomic status (SES) influences neural development--particularly of the systems that subserve language and executive function. Research in humans and in animal models has implicated prenatal factors, parent-child interactions and cognitive stimulation in the home environment(More)
Maternal licking and grooming (LG) in infancy influences stress responsiveness and cognitive performance in the offspring. We examined the effects of variation in the frequency of pup LG on morphological, electrophysiological, and behavioral aspects of hippocampal synaptic plasticity under basal and stress-like conditions. We found shorter dendritic branch(More)
Maternal care influences hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function in the rat through epigenetic programming of glucocorticoid receptor expression. In humans, childhood abuse alters HPA stress responses and increases the risk of suicide. We examined epigenetic differences in a neuron-specific glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) promoter between postmortem(More)
BACKGROUND Maternal care is associated with long-term effects on behavior and epigenetic programming of the NR3C1 (GLUCOCORTICOID RECEPTOR) gene in the hippocampus of both rats and humans. In the rat, these effects are reversed by cross-fostering, demonstrating that they are defined by epigenetic rather than genetic processes. However, epigenetic changes at(More)
There are profound maternal effects on individual differences in defensive responses and reproductive strategies in species ranging literally from plants to insects to birds. Maternal effects commonly reflect the quality of the environment and are most likely mediated by the quality of the maternal provision (egg, propagule, etc.), which in turn determines(More)
Early experience permanently alters behavior and physiology. These effects are, in part, mediated by sustained alterations in gene expression in selected brain regions. The critical question concerns the mechanism of these environmental "programming" effects. We examine this issue with an animal model that studies the consequences of variations in(More)
BACKGROUND Stress-induced metabolic changes can have detrimental health effects. Newly developed paradigms to investigate stress in neuroimaging environments allow the assessment of brain activation changes in association with the perception of and the metabolic response to stress. METHODS We exposed human subjects to a psychosocial stressor in one(More)
There are numerous examples in psychology and other disciplines of the enduring effects of early experience on neural function. In this article, we review the emerging evidence for epigenetics as a candidate mechanism for these effects. Epigenetics refers to functionally relevant modifications to the genome that do not involve a change in nucleotide(More)
Maternal care alters epigenetic programming of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene expression in the hippocampus, and increased postnatal maternal licking/grooming (LG) behavior enhances nerve growth factor-inducible protein A (NGFI-A) transcription factor binding to the exon 1(7) GR promoter within the hippocampus of the offspring. We tested the hypothesis(More)