Navigation Links
Childhood trauma leaves its mark on the brain
Date:1/15/2013

It is well known that violent adults often have a history of childhood psychological trauma. Some of these individuals exhibit very real, physical alterations in a part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex. Yet a direct link between such early trauma and neurological changes has been difficult to find, until now.

Publishing in the January 15 edition of Translational Psychiatry, EPFL Professor Carmen Sandi and team demonstrate for the first time a correlation between psychological trauma in pre-adolescent rats and neurological changes similar to those found in violent humans.

"This research shows that people exposed to trauma in childhood don't only suffer psychologically, but their brain also gets altered," explains Sandi, Head of EPFL's Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics, Director of the Brain Mind Institute, and a member of the National Centers for Competence in Research SYNAPSY. "This adds an additional dimension to the consequences of abuse, and obviously has scientific, therapeutic and social implications."

The researchers were able to unravel the biological foundations of violence using a cohort of male rats exposed to psychologically stressful situations when young. After observing that these experiences led to aggressive behavior when the rats reached adulthood, they examined what was happening in the animals' brains to see if the traumatic period had left a lasting mark.

"In a challenging social situation, the orbitofrontal cortex of a healthy individual is activated in order to inhibit aggressive impulses and to maintain normal interactions," explains Sandi. "But in the rats we studied, we noticed that there was very little activation of the orbitofrontal cortex. This, in turn, reduces their ability to moderate their negative impulses. This reduced activation is accompanied by the overactivation of the amygdala, a region of the brain that's involved in emotional reactions." Other researchers who have studied the brains of violent human individuals have observed the same deficit in orbitofrontal activation and the same corresponding reduced inhibition of aggressive impulses. "It's remarkable; we didn't expect to find this level of similarity," says Sandi.

The scientists also measured changes in the expression of certain genes in the brain. They focused on genes known to be involved in aggressive behavior for which there are polymorphisms (genetic variants) that predispose carriers to an aggressive attitude, and they looked at whether the psychological stress experienced by the rats caused a modification in the expression of these genes. "We found that the level of MAOA gene expression increased in the prefrontal cortex," says Sandi. This alteration was linked to an epigenetic change; in other words, the traumatic experience ended up causing a long-term modification of this gene's expression.

Finally, the researchers tested the efficacy of an MAOA gene inhibitor, in this case an anti-depressant, to see if it could reverse the rise in aggression induced by juvenile stress, which it did. Going forward, the team will explore treatments for reversing physical changes in the brain, and above all, attempt to shed light on whether some people are more vulnerable to being effected by trauma based on their genetic makeup.

"This research could also reveal the possible ability of antidepressantsan ability that's increasingly being suspectedto renew cerebral plasticity," says Sandi.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anne-Muriel Brouet
anne-muriel.brouet@epfl.ch
Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Bullying by childhood peers leaves a trace that can change the expression of a gene linked to mood
2. MicroRNA-218 targets medulloblastoma, most aggressive childhood brain cancer
3. Abuse during childhood linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women
4. Predicting the age at menopause of women having suffered from childhood cancers
5. Gene sequencing project identifies abnormal gene that launches rare childhood leukemia
6. Single protein targeted as the root biological cause of several childhood psychiatric disorders
7. Antibiotic use in infants before 6 months associated with being overweight in childhood
8. School food -- on the front line in the fight against childhood obesity
9. Childhood obesity may affect timing of puberty, create problems with reproduction
10. Gene mutations linked to most cases of rare disorder -- Alternating Hemoplegia of Childhood
11. Gene discovery set to help with mysterious paralysis of childhood
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Childhood trauma leaves its mark on the brain
(Date:2/2/2017)... , Feb. 2, 2017   TapImmune, ... clinical-stage immuno-oncology company specializing in the development of ... the treatment of cancer and metastatic disease, announced ... and GMP manufacturing of a second clinical lot ... targeting folate receptor alpha. The manufactured vaccine product ...
(Date:1/31/2017)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , Jan. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... develop novel therapies for the treatment of bacterial ... generation set of antibacterial candidates from Pro Bono ... the increased prevalence of multi-drug resistant forms of ... by Cantab Anti Infectives Ltd, a PBB group ...
(Date:1/25/2017)... YORK , Jan. 25, 2017 The ... Access Management (IAM) lifecycle is comprised of a ... for the purpose of maintaining digital identities and ... resources and applications. There are significant number of ... from time to time by optimizing processes and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... The BMT Tandem Meetings of ... International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) will take place Feb. 22-26, 2017 ... combined scientific sessions offer investigators, clinicians, laboratory technicians, clinical research professionals, nurses, pharmacists, ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... 17, 2017  If only one in every ... mutation-conferring resistance to chemotherapy, thousands of cancer cells ... focused on finding these mutations in ever-smaller subpopulations ... tumor DNA in blood — to guide treatment ... Unfortunately, however, detecting these genetic anomalies may ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Feb. 16, 2017  ImMAGE Biotherapeutics (OTCMKTS: IMMG), an early-stage ... find a better treatment for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), ... France program. The YEi Start ... designed to help entrepreneurs grow their business in ... eight American companies selected to complete an intensive one week ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Feb. 16, 2017   Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... biotechnology company developing first-in-class biological therapies for cardiac ... has elected to terminate its license agreement with ... agonists, including Cenderitide. "Our decision to ... we prioritize our efforts to advance our core ...
Breaking Biology Technology: