The neuroendocrine effects of early life trauma

Jamie L. LaPrairie, Christine M. Heim, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Scopus citations


This chapter summarizes available findings on the neuroendocrine effects of exposure to trauma during early development, with a focus on a role for such alterations in the increased risk of mood and anxiety disorders in adulthood. The principal components of the stress system are the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the locus ceruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system and the extrahypothalamic corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) systems. In addition, increased rates of major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been reported in maltreated children. The relationship between early adverse experiences and the development of adult psychopathology is likely mediated by alterations in neurobiological systems involved in the regulation of stress. Findings from the research would have important implications for the development of optimized treatment strategies that directly target different neurobiological pathways involved in depression and anxiety disorders in victims of early child maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease
Subtitle of host publicationThe Hidden Epidemic
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780511777042
ISBN (Print)9780521880268
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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