Effects of early-life stress and alcohol exposure on the brain
Alcohol use and misuse as well as alcohol use disorder (AUD) are complex phenotypes, and both environmental and genetic factors are contributing to early age onset and disease vulnerability. In collaboration with prof. Nylander I. we aim elucidating the mechanisms that contribute to short- as well as long-term effects of early-life stress and early-life drug exposure on brain and behaviour, and to identify factors that are associated with vulnerability to addiction. Genetic and epigenetic analyses are combined with behavioural profiling of rats using well-established models in which the environment can be controlled (stress/no stress; drug(s)/no drug(s)) and causal relations examined. As translational initiatives, we parallel animal experiments of rats with human studies of clinical as well as population-based samples. The main focus is on the adolescence period and on alcohol alone or in combination with nicotine.