Self-destructive behavior in current society promotes a search for psychobiological factors underlying this epidemic. Perinatal brain plasticity increases the vulnerability to early adverse experiences, thus leading to abnormal development and behavior. Although several epidemiological investigations have correlated perinatal and neonatal complications with abnormal adult behavior, our understanding of the underlying mechanisms remains rudimentary. Models of early experience, such as repetitive pain, sepsis, or maternal separation in rodents and other species have noted multiple alterations in the adult brain, correlated with specific behavioral phenotypes depending on the timing and nature of the insult. The mechanisms mediating such changes in the neonatal brain have remained largely unexplored. We propose that lack of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activity from maternal separation and sensory isolation leads to increased apoptosis in multiple areas of the immature brain. On the other hand, exposure to repetitive pain may cause excessive NMDA/excitatory amino acid activation resulting in excitotoxic damage to developing neurons. These changes promote two distinct behavioral phenotypes characterized by increased anxiety, altered pain sensitivity, stress disorders, hyperactivity/attention deficit disorder, leading to impaired social skills and patterns of self-destructive behavior. The clinical important of these mechanisms lies in the prevention of early insults, effective treatment of neonatal pain and stress, and perhaps the discovery of novel therapeutic approaches that limit neuronal excitotoxicity or apoptosis.
© 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel
Number of Print Pages : 14
Number of Figures : 3, Number of Tables : 1, Number of References : 147
Biology of the Neonate (Foetal and Neonatal Research)
Vol. 77, No. 2, Year 2000 (Cover Date: Released February 2000)
Journal Editor: J.P. Relier, Paris
ISSN: 0006–3126 (print), 1421–9727 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/journals/bon
Article / Publication Details
Published online: 2/7/2000
Issue release date: February 2000
Number of Print Pages: 14
Number of Figures: 3
Number of Tables: 1
ISSN: 1661-7800 (Print)
eISSN: 1661-7819 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NEO
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.