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Review
, 34 (6), 782-90

Early Attachment-Figure Separation and Increased Risk for Later Depression: Potential Mediation by Proinflammatory Processes

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Review

Early Attachment-Figure Separation and Increased Risk for Later Depression: Potential Mediation by Proinflammatory Processes

Michael B Hennessy et al. Neurosci Biobehav Rev.

Abstract

Early maternal separation and other disruptions of attachment relations are known to increase risk for the later onset of depressive illness in vulnerable individuals. It is suggested here that sensitization involving proinflammatory processes may contribute to this effect. This argument is based on: (1) current notions of the role of proinflammatory cytokines in depressive illness; (2) evidence that proinflammatory cytokines mediate depressive-like behavior during separation in a rodent model of infant attachment; and (3) comparisons of the effects of early proinflammatory activation versus maternal separation on later proinflammatory activity and biobehavioral processes related to depression. The possible interaction of proinflammatory processes and corticotropin-releasing factor in the sensitization process is discussed.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Illustration of the passive response of isolated guinea pig pups. The response is characterized by a crouched stance, closed eyes, and extensive piloerection.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Median number of 60-s intervals (and semi-interquartile range of scores) in which guinea pig pups injected with saline or one of two doses of LPS exhibited a crouched stance, closed eyes, and extensive piloerection during 60 min of isolation in a novel environment, a duration of separation in which levels of passive behavior typically are low.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Median number of 60-s intervals (and semi-interquartile range of scores) in which guinea pig pups infused ICV with either saline or 25 μg of α-MSH exhibited a crouched stance, closed eyes, and extensive piloerection during 3 hr of isolation in a novel environment. High levels of passive behavior typically emerge by 3 hr of separation. Shown are values pooled across observations made during Min 0–30, 60–90, and 150–180.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Illustration of predictions. Both separation from the attachment figure and early proinflammatory activation are predicted to result in biobehavioral effects associated with depression (Arrows A and B) and a sensitization of the proinflammatory response or its effects (Arrrows C and D) in adulthood.

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