Effects of attachment bond alterations on social isolation-induced depression: the role of PI3K-AKT genes pathway

Proponente Lucy Babicola - Assegnista di ricerca
Sottosettore ERC del proponente del progetto
Componenti gruppo di ricerca
Componente Categoria
Simona Cabib Aggiungi Tutor di riferimento (Professore o Ricercatore afferente allo stesso Dipartimento del Proponente)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is producing a psychological health emergency. Social isolation (SI), necessary to control infection, negatively affects psychological state with more severe consequences on vulnerable categories. In particular, increased SI-induced depression has been observed in women compared to men. Moreover, individual response to this stressful situation has been reported to be related to coping strategy mediated by attachment style.
To note, infant-caregiver bond critically impacts development of dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic circuit, notoriously involved in coping strategies and mood disorders, in a sex-specific manner. We thus hypothesize that SI-induced depression can be mediated by sex-specific modifications of this circuit induced by attachment bond alteration. The aim of this project is to investigate, in a mouse model, the neurobiological alterations of ventral tegmental area (the core of this circuit) and the related psychopathological consequences, due to the interaction among attachment bond alteration, sex differences and late SI. In particular, according to next-generation mRNA-Sequencing preliminary results, we aim to investigate the role of PI3K-AKT signaling pathway, altered in a sex-specific manner after attachment bond alteration and involved in etiology of depression. Finally, we aim to investigate a social rescue strategy to prevent the increased vulnerability to depression induced by social isolation.

LS5_8, LS5_6, LS5_3

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