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Webinar on Mood, Anxiety, Psychosis, Stress and Sleep

Sprekers: Carmen Sandi & Mirjam van Zuiden

Recorded: April 21, 2022

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Stress and the individual: Behavioral, endocrine and neurometabolic factors that define differential stress adaptations

Carmen Sandi, Professor of Neuroscience, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Short Abstract

There is important inter-individual variation in stress coping responses and motivated behavior. Trait anxiety and the adaptation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to repeated stress exposure are revealing as key moderators of this variation. In addition, our work in animals and humans identifies the involvement of mitochondrial function and metabolism in the brain’s motivation hub, the nucleus accumbens, in the link between stress, anxiety and motivated actions. I will present work in rodents and humans; the latter one involving virtual reality and neuroimaging to capture the impact of anxiety on brain function and behavior. Our findings have implications for the understanding of the mechanisms involved in individual differences in vulnerability to stress.

Mirjam van Zuiden, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam UMC

Short Abstract

Worldwide, 70% of adults report lifetime exposure to traumatic events, the most extreme form of stress. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common adverse mental health outcomes following trauma. Yet, as the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is much lower than that of trauma itself, this points to the existence of neurobiological vulnerability factors for its development. I will present on the accumulating evidence that individual variability in neuroendocrine stress reactivity during traumatic stress is involved in differential vulnerability to PTSD. In particular, I will present results from prospective cohort studies in acutely trauma-exposed individuals and experimental trauma studies in healthy adults on pre- and peri-trauma glucocorticoid signaling and subsequent PTSD development.