Epidemiological studies have pointed to a high prevalence of comorbidity between anxiety, depression and eating disorders. In addition, it has been shown that stress during childhood represents an important risk factor for these conditions and there are crucial periods of vulnerability during development in which stressors can cause neurobiological and behavioral changes that last into adulthood. Nevertheless, with regards to neurobiology, relatively little is known of these associated diseases making effective treatment more difficult. In previous studies, our group has shown that rats that undergo 24 hours of maternal privation (DEP) on postnatal days 3 (DEP3) or 11(DEP11) demonstrate increased anxiety as tested by the light/dark box test and the elevated plus maze. In addition, we observed that animals submitted to this protocol of maternal privation presented slowed weight gain up until adolescence. Recently, we evaluated the growth and weight gains as well as food consumption from birth to adolescence(PND52). Groups that had been maternally deprived on PND3 or PND11 showed significant reduction in all parameters when compared to control animals. In this project, we will seek to evaluate anxiety and depressive behaviors as well as the mechanisms responsible for the diminished growth patterns and the reduction in food consumption in deprived rats, analyzing peripheral (leptin and corticosterone) and central (neuropeptide Y and receptors) metabolic signaling.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: