Enduring good memories of infant trauma: Rescue of adult neurobehavioral deficits via amygdala serotonin and corticosterone interaction
Infant trauma induces preference learning about trauma-linked cues but negatively programs neurobehavioral development. Despite clinical evidence that trauma-linked cues remain powerful throughout life, the mechanisms underlying the interaction between infant trauma cues and the long-term effects of trauma are unknown. Using a rodent model of trauma bonding, which produces a life-long preferred odor and enduring effects that parallel the sequelae of child abuse, we show that the infant trauma odor rescues adult depressive-like behavior and amygdala dysfunction. Assessment of neural mechanism implicates amygdala serotonin (5-HT) and glucocorticoids (GCs). Our findings suggest that trauma-linked cues have an unexpected positive value in adulthood (i.e., antidepressant properties) and may provide insight as to why victims of childhood abuse are attracted to abuse-related cues.