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Ontogeny and developmental programming of DG function: anatomical and behavioral approach

Behavioral disorders are debilitating conditions that significantly degrade the quality of life and understanding their neurobiological basis is a major issue in modern psychiatry. A strong developmental origin hypothesis has emerged, which proposes that early-life environment can set the stage for adult pathology, opening a new avenue of research on the biological substrates of psychopathologies. Among them, the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus, constitutes a very attractive candidate: 1) it is implicated in emotional and cognitive states; 2) it develops over a long period of time, hence the existence of a large window of vulnerability to environmental insults; 3) it is rich in stress-hormone receptors.

In this context, one central goal of our research is to analyze the consequences of an early developmental insult, i.e. prenatal stress, on DG functioning under both an anatomical and a behavioral perspective. Furthermore, because it is fundamental to understand brain development under normal conditions in order to pinpoint the mechanisms underlying developmental pathologies, we have also developed a line of research that investigates neuronal development in the DG and parallels it with the development of behavioral competencies under normal conditions.

During this seminar I will present and discuss recent results from these two research lines. In particular, I will show data indicating that prenatal stress alters the rate of DG neurogenesis over the entire lifespan of rodents, and that this deficit is associated with memory disturbances that are highly reminiscent of those seen in patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I will also present our recent data on normal DG development highlighting heterogeneity in the maturational timecourse of DG granule neurons originating from different developmental periods.

 

Neurocentre Magendie – UMR 1215 – Bordeaux

E-mail : muriel.koehl@inserm.fr

 

Monday, 19th March 2018 – 11 a.m.

Inmed Conference Room

 

Invited by Pierre-Pascal LENCK-SANTINI

 

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