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Title: Early Neurodevelopment, adult human cognition and depressive psychopathology: analysis of neuroimaging brain correlates and epigenetic mediators
Author: Córdova Palomera, Aldo
Director: Fañanás Saura, Lourdes
Keywords: Depressió psíquica
Mental depression
Issue Date: 21-Sep-2015
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] In the behavioral sciences, the concept of phenotypic plasticity can be roughly categorized into two classes: developmental and activational plasticity. Developmental plasticity denotes the capacity of an individual carrying a specific genetic background to adopt different developmental trajectories under distinct settings. Complementarily, activational plasticity refers to the differential activation of adaptation mechanisms: an individual with high activational plasticity would be able to detect a wide range of environments, and to respond to it using a psychobiological phenotype from a relatively large catalogue. In this context, it is feasible postulating that several etiopathogenic mechanisms of depression-related phenotypes can be clarified by expanding on processes of biobehavioral plasticity in response to the experience. This expansion can be elaborated on the basis of both neurodevelopmental phenomena (developmental plasticity) and novel biological mechanisms detectable through neuroimaging and epigenetics approaches (activational plasticity). The present work expands on two specific hypotheses. First, depression-related psychopathological phenotypes are induced by factors altering the early neurodevelopment, and these long-lasting changes can be assessed in adulthood (depression and developmental plasticity). Secondly, the clinical manifestation of depression-related psychopathological phenotypes can be understood as activational plasticity deficits; these deficits can be assessed as neurobiological disease traits using novel epigenetic and neuroimaging techniques (depression and activational plasticity). The results of this work provide support to the neuroplasticity hypothesis of depression, from both developmental and activational perspectives. Developmentally, they suggest putative etiopathogenic pathways leading from an altered early neurodevelopment to an increased risk for depression-related phenotypes. By exploring and combining genetic, environmental and psychopathologic concepts, the feasibility of these results has been explained by combining the popular genetic pleiotropy hypothesis in psychiatry with a notion of disease-specificity liability driven by the environment. With regards to activational plasticity, this work has proposed novel genetic and epigenetic signatures potentially underlying the clinical manifestation of neuropsychiatric and neurocognitive features of depression (i.e., the genetics of DNMT3B and the epigenetics of DEPDC7); additionally, it has proposed new putative neurobiological mechanisms to explain depressive traits (i.e., a combination of differential and variable methylation, a genetically-mediated hippocampal communication deficit, and a new amygdalar synchrony failure driven by the genes).
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Biologia Animal

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