Adverse early-life experiences are associated with stress-response behavioral alteration, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis hyperactivity, and a larger pituitary gland volume in adult CD-1 male mice

Published: 10 May 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/gnyynhcyzt.1
Stefano Loizzo


Mice's behavior was evaluated by forced swim test. Tissues were analyzed by ELISA assays. Analysis of brain and pituitary was performed using anatomic magnetic resonance imaging, and the diffusion-weighted imaging techniques (diffusion-weighted imaging and apparent diffusion coefficient).


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In humans, adverse childhood experiences have been suggested to be correlated with the onset of psychiatric disorders in adulthood and associated with an enlargement of the pituitary gland. To better understand such pathological phenotype, we examined the effect of complex peri-natal stress procedures on outbred CD-1 male mice. In adulthood, this early-life stress mouse model presents altered stress-response behavior (forced swimming test), endocrine and metabolic alterations (ELISA) , and in particular an increase in pituitary volume (MRI) and in ACTH expression associated with the lack of the pituitary negative feedback mechanisms exerted by corticosterone that control pro-opiomelanocortin-derived ACTH secretion.


Istituto Superiore di Sanita


Pituitary Gland, Mouse Model, Neuroendocrinology