Genetic and Environmental Factors in Childhood Affecting High Brain Function

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The brain and mind are not only determined genetically but are also nurtured by environmental stimuli in early life. However, the relationship between early life environment and phenotypes in adulthood remains elusive. Using the IntelliCage-based competition task for group-housed mice, we previously found that maternal exposure to a low dose of an environmental pollutant, dioxin, resulted in abnormal social behavior, that is, low competitive dominance, which is defined by decreased occupancy of limited resource sites under highly competitive circumstances. Although we were unable to identify which behavioral phenotype applies to abnormalities such as "human social nature", we found signs of hypoactivation of the medial prefrontal cortex, as seen in patients with autism spectrum disorder. In addition, another model of environmental factors, repeated isolation during development, and that of genetic factors including mice with neuronal heterotopia, which refers to brain malformations resulting from deficits of neuronal migration, showed low competitive dominance. These results indicate that a constitutive approach to capture the neural network of the whole brain is necessary especially in cases where the temporal gap of causal relationships is large such as DOHaD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-114
Number of pages5
JournalNihon eiseigaku zasshi. Japanese journal of hygiene
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • DOHaD
  • environmental factor
  • genetic factor
  • mouse model
  • social behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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