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Keywords:

  • maternal care;
  • stress;
  • glucocorticoid receptor;
  • methylation;
  • epigenomic programming

Abstract: Environmental conditions in early life permanently alter the development of glucocorticoid receptor gene expression in the hippocampus and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responses to acute or chronic stress. In part, these effects can involve an activation of ascending serotonergic pathways and subsequent changes in the expression of transcription factors that might drive glucocorticoid receptor expression in the hippocampus. This paper summarizes the evidence in favor of these pathways as well as recent studies describing regulatory targets within the chromatin structure of the promoter region of the rat hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor gene.