Behavioural and neurochemical outcomes of early life stress: role of epigenetics and neurogenesis

Project members:

Project main description:

Early experiences have long-lasting impacts on behaviour. Early life stress (ELS) induced by separating pups from their mothers, leads to depression and anxiety-like behaviour. We aim to examine whether hippocampal nerve growth is affected by ELS, and explore the impact of exercise or high fat diet (HFD) on nerve growth, and neurochemical markers. We predict that exercise and HFD induce non-genetic changes through DNA methylation in the hippocampus that contribute to the improved behavioural profile. We will test if leptin treatment in the periweaning period exerts beneficial behavioural effects, and neurobiological changes after ELS. This work will provide important information regarding the capacity of the brain to respond to challenges.

Project supporters:

  • University of New South Wales - Goldstar-ARC|DP120100926