This review focuses on the inter- and transgenerational effects of stress experience prior to and during gestation. We provide an overview of findings from studies in humans as well as in animal models on brain structural and physiological functions and on the development of cognitive and executive functions. We also discuss the concept of stress-induced (re-)programming in more detail by highlighting epigenetic mechanisms and particularly those affecting the development of monoaminergic transmitter systems, which constitute the braińs reward system. As the majority of studies have focused on male individuals we will emphasize sex-specific differences in stress vulnerability and resilience. Finally, we offer some perspectives on the development of protective and therapeutic interventions in cognitive and emotional disturbances resulting from pre-conception and prenatal stress.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Our work was supported by grants from the German Bundesministerium fu?r Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) TransGen, 01KR1304B to KB, 01KR1304A to JF and UZ and UBICA, 01KR1207D to JB). We would like to thank Madeleine Stiefel for help with editorial work and Susann Becker for help with the artwork.
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd
- Neural development
- Preconception stress
- Prenatal stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience