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Behavioral changes induced by the exposure to stress during pre/peripuberty or adulthood.

Grant number: 22/10753-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Neuropsychopharmacology
Principal Investigator:Felipe Villela Gomes
Grantee:Beatriz Kinchin de Souza
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/17597-3 - The impact of stress on the dopamine system depends on the state of the critical period of neuroplasticity: implications for depression and schizophrenia and for the study of new drug targets, AP.JP
Associated scholarship(s):23/01739-1 - Evaluating the impact of stress on ventral hippocampus-prefrontal cortex connectivity, BE.EP.IC

Abstract

In addition to sharing the exposure to stressful events as a common risk factor, depression and schizophrenia also share many of the genetic variations associated with these psychiatric disorders. However, they differ in the mean age of diagnosis. While schizophrenia is usually diagnosed in late adolescence/early adulthood (18-25 years), depression seems to be more common in adults (25-45 years). These pieces of evidence point to an intriguing possibility: socio-environmental factors, such as stress exposure, may be common risk factors for the development of these disorders, but with the age of exposure determining the possible consequence. This may be related to the critical period of neuroplasticity, mainly due to a greater susceptibility of GABAergic interneurons containing parvalbumin (PV) during this period, which extends until the onset of adulthood. PV interneurons play an important role in regulating the synchronized activity of GABAergic interneurons and glutamatergic pyramidal neurons (excitatory-inhibitory balance). This fellowship is linked to a FAPESP Young Investigator Grant which the main hypothesis is that exposure to stress during critical periods of neuroplasticity, such as adolescence, could result in a loss in the number and in the function of PV interneurons and, thus, it favors the development of schizophrenia. However, if the individual is "protected" during this time of greater vulnerability of PV interneurons, but experiences exposure to stress later in life, this could determine the development of depression. Therefore, the age at which stress exposure occurs would determine the pathology present in the adult. In this study we will investigate the behavioral changes induced by exposure to stress during different ages (juvenile and adult period).

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