Sex-specific programming of the brain and behaviour by prenatal stress

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


It is widely accepted that the physiological and behavioural traits of an individual are determined by complex interactions between their genes (‘nature’) and their experiences/environment (‘nurture’). The perinatal period, infancy, childhood and puberty are periods of increased neuroplasticity and therefore the brain is particularly sensitive to ‘programming’ by environmental factors at these times. Exposure to stress or adversity in early life can programme persistent neural and behavioural changes. Often this programming is maladaptive, increasing the susceptibility of an individual to mood disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression), behavioural disorders (e.g. attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder) and cognitive impairments. My talk will focus on the detrimental and sex-specific consequences of prenatal stress exposure on the brain and behaviour based on studies in rodents. What is currently known about the mechanisms underlying this early life programming and whether this programming can be prevented will also be considered.
Period2 Jun 2017
Held atUniversity of British Columbia, Canada