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 April 18, 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 April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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