Stress in early life inhibits neurogenesis in adulthood

Trends Neurosci. 2005 Apr;28(4):171-2. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2005.01.009.


Both structure and function of the hippocampus are altered by stress: by increasing levels of corticosteroids, stress causes atrophy of CA3 pyramidal cell dendrites, inhibits adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, and impairs hippocampus-dependent learning. A recent study shows that adverse experience limited to early life, specifically removal of rat pups from their mother for three hours each day, decreases production of new granule neurons in adulthood through a corticosteroid-dependent mechanism. This finding suggests that stress in early life could permanently impair hippocampus-dependent learning and memory and increase susceptibility to depression by inhibiting adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / metabolism
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Learning / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Stress, Physiological / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones