Post-weaning to pre-pubertal ('juvenile') stress: A model of induced predisposition to stress-related disorders

O. Horovitz, M. M. Tsoory, J. Hall, S. Jacobson-Pick, G. Richter-Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Human studies suggest that childhood trauma predisposes individuals to develop stress-related disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recent years have witnessed growing interest in effectively modeling in animals the long-term effects of childhood emotional trauma on stress responses in adulthood. Most studies concerned with the impact of early-life stress on subsequent stress responses in adulthood in rodents have focused on the post-natal pre-weaning period. However, psychiatric studies often refer to human childhood rather than infancy when investigating the patients' traumatic history of stress-related psychopathologies. In accordance with that, we have examined the consequences of stress exposure at a later early-life period, the post-weaning, pre-puberty (juvenile) period, which holds greater resemblance to human childhood. This review summarizes a series of studies examining the impact of exposure of rats to stressors during 'juvenility' ('juvenile stress') on the ability of these animals to cope with stress later in life. Exposure to relatively brief but significant stress experience during juvenility was found to impair the ability of animals to cope with stressful challenges in adulthood. These behavioral manifestations were associated with lasting alterations in limbic system brain regions of neuromodulatory pathways, such as alterations in the expression of cell adhesion molecules, GABAergic system functioning and alterations in levels of circulating corticosterone. Importantly, these studies have also demonstrated considerable individual and sex differences, which call for the development of adequate analysis approaches. The juvenile stress model combined with characterization of individual profiles is presented as a useful model to study in rodents different facets of stress-related disorders and neural mechanisms of vulnerability and resilience to stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Post-weaning stress
  • Pre-pubertal ('juvenile') stress
  • Stress-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Endocrinology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Post-weaning to pre-pubertal ('juvenile') stress: A model of induced predisposition to stress-related disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this