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Brain Programming by Early-Life Stress

Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Behav. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00314

Early attachment disruption, inflammation, and vulnerability for depression in rodent and primate models

 Michael B. Hennessy1*, Patricia A. Schiml1, Katelyn Berberich1, Nicole L. Beasley1 and  Terrence Deak2
  • 1Wright State University, United States
  • 2Binghamton University, United States

Early experiments in nonhuman primates established the relation between disruption of filial attachment and depressive-like outcomes. Subsequent studies in rats and mice have been instrumental in linking depressive-like outcomes to disturbances in maternal behavior. Another aspect of attachment disruption, absence of the attachment object per se, may be studied more effectively in a different laboratory rodent—the guinea pig. Here we discuss the rationale for using guinea pigs for this work. We then review guinea pig studies providing evidence for inflammatory mechanisms mediating both depressive-like behavior during separation as well as sensitization of stress responsiveness such as is thought to lead to increased vulnerability to depression at later ages. Finally, we discuss recent complementary work in adult monkeys that suggests cross-species generalizability of broad principles derived from the guinea pig experiments. Overall, the findings provide experimental support for human research implicating inflammatory mechanisms in the development of increased stress responsiveness and vulnerability to depression following attachment disruption and other forms of early-life stress. Specifically, the findings suggest inflammatory mechanisms may set in motion a cascade of underlying processes that mediate later increased stress responsiveness and, therefore, depression susceptibility.

Keywords: early life stress, Attachment, maternal separation, Depression, stress-induced sickness, Inflammation, neuroimmune, Animal Models

Received: 10 Sep 2018; Accepted: 03 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Celia L. Moore, University of Massachusetts Boston, United States

Reviewed by:

Charlis Raineki, University of British Columbia, Canada
Millie Rincón Cortés, University of Pittsburgh, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Hennessy, Schiml, Berberich, Beasley and Deak. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Michael B. Hennessy, Wright State University, Dayton, United States,