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Evaluation of maternal deprivation effects on oxidative stress and behavior: tools to understand Schizophrenia

Grant number: 14/05372-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2014
Effective date (End): December 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Neuropsychopharmacology
Principal Investigator:Deborah Suchecki
Grantee:Natália Cristina Zanta
Host Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder characterized by various symptoms such as hallucinations, blunted affect and cognitive deficits that are disabling and profoundly affect the life of patients. The symptoms normally manifest during late adolescence or early adulthood, characterizing a prodromal phase, in which mild symptoms begin to appear, especially social isolation signs, resulting in important impairing consequences. The causes of schizophrenia are not yet entirely clear, but it is believed that adverse events in early development can contribute significantly to the etiology of the disease. An example of such events is stress in the perinatal period. In rats, maternal deprivation on the 9th postnatal day produces significant effects on neurodevelopment that are manifested by behavioral changes in adults, similar to some aspects of schizophrenia, so that such approach has been applied as an experimental model of schizophrenia . However, the mechanisms involved in the behavioral alterations are not yet fully known, leading to a broad range of research possibilities for future studies. Considering that oxidative stress has been implicated for both schizophrenia and animal models of schizophrenia, this project aims to understand the effects of neonatal stress (maternal deprivation) on oxidative stress, and to characterize, in this model, some common behaviors that mimic basic aspects related to schizophrenia. We expect that knowledge about the possible relationship between changes in oxidative stress and behavioral changes will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in schizophrenia, to obtain alternative ways of treatment and prevention of the disease.

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