Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Timothy Cope (Other), Michael Hennessy (Advisor), Andrew Hsu (Other), John Pearson (Committee Member), Patricia Schiml (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Early attachment disruption is thought to promote later onset of depressive illness through a process involving sensitization. Maternal separation in guinea pig pups (~21 days of age) produces depressive-like behavior and core body temperature fluctuations that appear to be mediated by proinflammatory activity. These responses are enhanced during repeated separations over several days. Here, enhanced depressive-like behavior and core body temperature responses were observed from the early pre-weaning to the periadolescent period (~10-40 days of age) and persisted for more than a week. The greatest temperature response was observed during the final separation. These results demonstrate persisting sensitization of behavioral and thermogenic responses to maternal separation over the age range in which these responses are known to occur. Further, the findings are consistent with the hypothesis that proinflammatory activity contributes to the sensitization response and suggest that the impact of early attachment disruption on susceptibility to depression involves proinflammatory processes.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology & Physiology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Anatomy Commons