Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain's stress circuits undergo profound learning early in life, scientists find

Date:
April 7, 2013
Source:
University of Calgary
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that stress circuits in the brain undergo profound learning early in life. Using a number of cutting edge approaches, including optogenetics, scientists have shown stress circuits are capable of self-tuning following a single stress. These findings demonstrate that the brain uses stress experience during early life to prepare and optimize for subsequent challenges.

Newborn baby. Stress circuits in the brain undergo profound learning early in life.
Credit: © Iosif Szasz-Fabian / Fotolia

Researchers at the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute have discovered that stress circuits in the brain undergo profound learning early in life. Using a number of cutting edge approaches, including optogenetics, Jaideep Bains, PhD, and colleagues have shown stress circuits are capable of self-tuning following a single stress. These findings demonstrate that the brain uses stress experience during early life to prepare and optimize for subsequent challenges.

The team was able to show the existence of unique time windows following brief stress challenges during which learning is either increased or decreased. By manipulating specific cellular pathways, they uncovered the key players responsible for learning in stress circuits in an animal model. These discoveries culminated in the publication of two back-to-back studies in the April 7 online edition of Nature Neuroscience.

"These new findings demonstrate that systems thought to be 'hardwired' in the brain, are in fact flexible, particularly early in life," says Bains, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. "Using this information, researchers can now ask questions about the precise cellular and molecular links between early life stress and stress vulnerability or resilience later in life."

Stress vulnerability, or increased sensitivity to stress, has been implicated in numerous health conditions including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and depression. Although these studies used animal models, similar mechanisms mediate disease progression in humans.

"Our observations provide an important foundation for designing more effective preventative and therapeutic strategies that mitigate the effects of stress and meet society's health challenges," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Calgary. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Wataru Inoue, Dinara V Baimoukhametova, Tamás Füzesi, Jaclyn I Wamsteeker Cusulin, Kathrin Koblinger, Patrick J Whelan, Quentin J Pittman, Jaideep S Bains. Noradrenaline is a stress-associated metaplastic signal at GABA synapses. Nature Neuroscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3373
  2. Jaclyn I Wamsteeker Cusulin, Tamás Füzesi, Wataru Inoue, Jaideep S Bains. Glucocorticoid feedback uncovers retrograde opioid signaling at hypothalamic synapses. Nature Neuroscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3374

Cite This Page:

University of Calgary. "Brain's stress circuits undergo profound learning early in life, scientists find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130407133314.htm>.
University of Calgary. (2013, April 7). Brain's stress circuits undergo profound learning early in life, scientists find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130407133314.htm
University of Calgary. "Brain's stress circuits undergo profound learning early in life, scientists find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130407133314.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) — An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) — A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins