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-
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