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Early-life stress impacts the developing hippocampus and primes seizure occurrence: cellular, molecular, and epigenetic mechanisms

DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2014.00008

Keywords: early-life stress, epigenetic, epileptogenesis, hippocampus, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, prenatal stress, postnatal stress, seizure

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Abstract:

Early-life stress includes prenatal, postnatal, and adolescence stress. Early-life stress can affect the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and cause cellular and molecular changes in the developing hippocampus that can result in neurobehavioral changes later in life. Epidemiological data implicate stress as a cause of seizures in both children and adults. Emerging evidence indicates that both prenatal and postnatal stress can prime the developing brain for seizures and an increase in epileptogenesis. This article reviews the cellular and molecular changes encountered during prenatal and postnatal stress, and assesses the possible link between these changes and increases in seizure occurrence and epileptogenesis in the developing hippocampus. In addititon, the priming effect of prenatal and postnatal stress for seizures and epileptogenesis is discussed. Finally, the roles of epigenetic modifications in hippocampus and HPA axis programming, early-life stress, and epilepsy are discussed.

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