Early life stress (ELS) can induce changes on behavioural and metabolic responses later in life. Stress early in life may cause persistent programming changes on the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis functioning. Persistent hyperactivation of HPA axis can cause damage.
Study investigating whether changes in thyroid hormone metabolism could explain mechanistic links between early life stress. The sample of this study included 80 students between 10 and 18 years old. The objective of this study was to investigate anxiety disorders and therefore, anxiety cases were privileged.
From previous research it is known that low maternal stroking in those women who suffered from a prenatal depression is related to increased infant negative emotionality and decreased physiological adaptability and negative health outcomes. The quality of maternal care is associated with changes in the relationship between the precursor thyroid-hormone T4 and the more active T3. Good maternal care is associated with increased conversion of T4 to T3.Among the different types of trauma, the adverse consequences of childhood physical abuse persist in different systems, affecting the inflammatory response, cardiovascular function, lipid metabolism, obesity risk and even telomere length. A significant difference between levels of T3 among groups of subjects differing in levels of physical abuse is observed.
This study displays that early life trauma is associated with reduced T3 levels in adolescents, but not with T4 levels. The findings are in agreement with results described in rodents showing that early life trauma and T3 are an important player in the epigenetic mechanisms by which the early environment persistently impacts on the individual’s responses to stress. The hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid axis plays an important role in development and growth, and a critical event happening during childhood could persistently program its functioning, leading to altered T3 secretion throughout life.
[pullquote]Early life trauma is associated with reduced T3 levels.[/pullquote]
Early life trauma (physical abuse) is associated with reduced T3 levels in adolescents.
If you’ve experienced any extreme or chronic early life stress, make sure that you reprogram your hyperactivated HPA axis
Machado, T. D., Salum, G. A., Bosa, V. L., Goldani, M. Z., Meaney, M. J., Agranonik, M., . . . Silveira, P. P. (2015). Early life trauma is associated with decreased peripheral levels of thyroid-hormone T3 in adolescents. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 47, 304-308. doi:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.10.005