Nurturing nature: social experiences and the brain

J Neuroendocrinol. 2009 Oct;21(10):867-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2009.01901.x. Epub 2009 Jul 21.


Summary How does 'nurture' change the brain? Recent evidence suggests that maternal care may shape the infant brain by turning genes 'on' or 'off' during development. Some of the genes affected are important for maternal and social behaviour leading to long-term changes in the nurturing behaviour of offspring. These studies provide new insights into the inheritance of behaviour and the interactions between genes and the social environment across the lifespan.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • DNA Methylation / physiology
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Oxytocin / metabolism
  • Social Behavior*


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Oxytocin