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      Maternal care, hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responses to stress.

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          Abstract

          Variations in maternal care affect the development of individual differences in neuroendocrine responses to stress in rats. As adults, the offspring of mothers that exhibited more licking and grooming of pups during the first 10 days of life showed reduced plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone responses to acute stress, increased hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor messenger RNA expression, enhanced glucocorticoid feedback sensitivity, and decreased levels of hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone messenger RNA. Each measure was significantly correlated with the frequency of maternal licking and grooming (all r's > -0.6). These findings suggest that maternal behavior serves to "program" hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responses to stress in the offspring.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Science
          Science (New York, N.Y.)
          American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
          0036-8075
          0036-8075
          Sep 12 1997
          : 277
          : 5332
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Developmental Neuroendocrinology Laboratory, Douglas Hospital Research Center, McGill University, Montreal, Canada H4H 1R3.
          Article
          10.1126/science.277.5332.1659
          9287218
          2bee21f4-ee9b-4450-b1bf-11fe062d23cc

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