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Trends Neurosci. 2008 Apr;31(4):183-91. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2008.01.004. Epub 2008 Mar 10.

Stress, sensitive periods and maturational events in adolescent depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.


In this paper, we provide an overview of how the maturation of specific brain regions and stress exposure during windows of vulnerability initiate a series of events that render adolescents exceptionally susceptible to the development of depression. This stress-incubation/corticolimbic development cascade provides a means of understanding why depression emerges with such force and frequency in adolescence. The development of the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, amygdala and ventral striatum is described from a translational perspective as they relate to stress exposure, onset, pathogenesis and gender differences in depression. Adolescent depression is a serious recurrent brain-based disorder. Understanding the genesis and neurobiological basis is important in the development of more effective intervention strategies to treat or prevent the disorder.

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