PhD defence Jiska Kentrop
Challenging early life environments: Impact on behavioral inhibition and (pro-)social behavior in rats.
Thursday 2 May 2019 Jiska Kentrop (UMCU, WP4) defends her PhD dissertation on ‘Challenging early life environments: Impact on behavioral inhibition and (pro-)social behavior in rats’.
Jiska’s thesis examines how challenging early life environments impact behavioural inhibition and (pro-)social behaviour. To this end, a rodent model, the rat, was used to study how early life stress, through 24h deprivation of maternal care on the third day after birth, affects adult behavior.
She also tested two adolescent interventions to examine whether potential negative effects of maternal deprivation could be normalized by:
- Pharmacological treatment with the glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-antagonist mifepristone
- Complex housing from early adolescence onwards, so animals are reared in socially and physically enriched housing that provides a challenging and stimulating environment
Taken together, Jiska shows that early life stress has a negative impact on behavioural inhibition and social behaviour, but the effects are modest. Because of this, interpretation of results of the two tested interventions is difficult and further research is needed to draw more solid conclusions. Finally, the two final chapters describe two new behavioural tests aimed to study pro-social behaviour in rats.