Stress and Mental Disorders: Insights from Animal Models
Stress has been recognized as an important factor in the development or recurrence of various mental disorders, from major depressive disorder to bipolar disorder to anxiety disorders. Stressful stimuli also appear to exert their effects by acting upon individuals with susceptible genotypes. Over the past 50 years, animal models have been developed to study these dynamic interactions between stressful stimuli and genetically susceptible individuals during prenatal
and postnatal development and into adulthood.
Stress and Mental Disorders: Insights from Animal Models begins with a discussion of the history of psychiatric diagnosis and the recent goal of moving toward precision psychiatry, followed by a review of clinical research on connections between stressful stimuli and the development of psychiatric disorders. Chapters are also included on neuroendocrine, immune, and brain systems involved in responses to stress. Additional chapters focus on the development of animal models in
psychiatry and the susceptibility of the developing organism to stressful stimuli. Subsequent chapters are devoted to animal models of specific stress-sensitive psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress
disorder. These chapters also focus on identification of promising molecular targets for development of new drug therapies. The section concludes with a chapter on animal models of resilience to stress-induced behavioral alterations as a newer approach to understanding why some animals are susceptible to stress and others are resilient, even though they are essentially genetically identical. The final chapter discusses how these basic laboratory studies are providing promising leads for future
breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders.