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Neuroimmunomodulation. 2010;17(3):192-5. doi: 10.1159/000258721. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Interplay between neuroimmunoendocrine systems during post-traumatic stress disorder: a minireview.

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Faculty of Psychology, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Early life stress has been suggested to mediate vulnerability to affective disorders. Traumatic events experienced in childhood such as sexual abuse and/or physical neglect may lead to psychiatric diseases in adult life, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Previous studies have focused on adult traumatic events and very little is known regarding the long-term physiological effects of early life stress. Here, we review the complex interplay between most important cognitive, neuroendocrine and immunological changes reported in PTSD, focusing on long-term implications of childhood maltreatment. PTSD has been associated with significant biological changes related to impaired cognitive functions, attenuated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function (hypocortisolism) and activation of innate immune responses (low-grade inflammation).

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