Early life adversity during the infant sensitive period for attachment: Programming of behavioral neurobiology of threat processing and social behavior
In a recent longitudinal study to assess the development of incidental recognition memory processes in monkeys, we showed that the effects of neonatal hippocampal lesions did alter incidental recognition memory only when the animals reached the juvenile period (Zeamer et al., ). The current follow-up study tested whether this incidental memory loss was long-lasting, i.e., present in adulthood, or only transitory, due to functional compensation with further brain maturation. The same animals with neonatal hippocampal lesions and their sham-operated controls were re-tested in the visual paired-comparison task when they reached adulthood (48 months). The results demonstrated that, at least for easily discriminable color pictures of objects, the involvement of the hippocampus was only transitory, given that when re-tested as adults, animals with neonatal hippocampal lesions performed as well as sham-operated controls at all delays. Yet, significant recognition memory impairment was re-instated when the discriminability of the stimuli was made more difficult (black/white pictures of similar objects). The data demonstrate profound functional remodeling within the hippocampus and its interactions with different medial temporal lobe structures from the juvenile period to adulthood, which is substantiated by a parallel morphological maturation of hippocampal intrinsic circuits (Lavenex et al., ; Jabès et al., ).