Principal Investigator

Julie L. Fudge, M.D. University of Rochester work Box 603 601 Elmwood Ave Rochester NY 14642 office: MC 5-8503 p (585) 273-2028

Effects of Stress on Amygdala Development and Behavior in Adolescent Rats

Project Collaborator:

Fluorescent double-labeled images showing activated cyclic adenylate cyclase response element binding protein (red) in the nucleus of immature appearing neurons that express class III beta tubulin, or TUJ1 (green).

Adolescence is a time of rapid social, emotional, and cognitive growth, and also a time when symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders emerge. The amygdala is a central structure involved in emotional processing and learning. Recent evidence indicates that the amygdala structure and function is influenced by stress and glucocorticoids, possibly contributing to the amygdala’s well-known dysregulation in mood and anxiety disorders.

We are studying how stressful experiences in adolescence influence normal social interactions and amygdala development. Our preliminary studies involve giving a repeated unpredictable stress to adolescent rats, and examining measures of cell proliferation in the amygdala. We are correlating change in cell proliferation during adolescence with immediate and long-term changes in social-emotional function. We hypothesize that changes in amygdala cell proliferation in adolescence have long term consequences for social and emotional behaviors.

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