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Serotonergic Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity in Post Natal Stress

Grant number: 16/25840-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2017 - October 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology - Physiology of Organs and Systems
Principal Investigator:Roberto de Pasquale
Grantee:Roberto de Pasquale
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Silvana Chiavegatto


During the postnatal development of the nervous system, the synapses of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) are in a critical period with high capability of long-term potentiation (LTP). Within this time window, the PFC neurons establish many new connections, thus designing the primordial neural circuitry. It has become known that chronic stress reduces the efficacy of LTP, as well as dendritic proliferation and the formation of nine synapses in the PFC. Also, it is known that stressors modify the post-synaptic effects of serotonin, one of the principal modulators acting during the the critical period throught the facilitation of LTP in excitatory synapses of limbic and cortical regions. Our hypothesis is that stress exposure during the early postnatal period modifies serotonergic modulation of glutamatergic synapses of PFC, thereby reducing the occurrence of LTP during the critical period. As a result of this exposure the PFC functions would be impaired, predisposing the nervous system to the development of neuropsychiatric diseases in adulthood. The project proposes to use electrophysiological techniques, molecular biology and behavioral tests to study the physiological and molecular mechanisms involved in this process. (AU)