Neurobiology and Individual Differences in Stress

A special issue of Journal of Personalized Medicine (ISSN 2075-4426). This special issue belongs to the section "Mechanisms of Diseases".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2021) | Viewed by 4359

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Animal Physiology Unit, School of Biosciences, Institut de Neurociéncies, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Interests: the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis; biological markers of stress; brain processing of stressors; stress and adaptation; animal models of depression; animal models of PTSD; individual differences
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Guest Editor
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Interests: electric stimulation; learning; rats; neuroscience; endocrinology; behavioral neuroscience; physiology; behavioral analysis; animal models; memory

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Guest Editor
Department of Mental Health, Consorci Sanitari del Maresme, Mataró, Barcelona, Spain
Interests: psychoneuroendocrinology; stress; cortisol; prolactin; psychosis; depression; cognition
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite the widely accepted view that somatic and psychological consequences of exposure to stress are markedly different among individuals, the characterization of the psychological bases (e.g., personality factors) or the neurobiological underpinnings of such differences (e.g., peripheral physiological responses) remains elusive. The revival of interest in this topic is in great part due to the consequences of exposure to traumatic events, which have clearly brought out that most individuals are in fact resilient to the long-term consequences of trauma (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder or depression). However, characterization of stress-related individual differences remains hampered by several factors: first, the extreme complexity of the study of personality traits in humans; second, the extent to which we can have reliable biological markers of the ways and dynamics of coping with stressors different in terms of quality and intensity; and third, obtaining information from preclinical studies to orientate studies in humans is hampered by the marked differences in cognitive capabilities between humans and laboratory animals and the enormous financial and personal investment with little reward when negative results are obtained.

This Special Issue aims to update and put together the experimental evidence for marked individual differences in the response to and consequences of exposure to severe acute stressors and chronic stressful conditions in humans, including sex differences. The focus will be on putative biological markers, other than genetic differences, that can be evaluated with relatively non-invasive methods in biological fluids/tissues (saliva, urine, blood, or hair) or the whole body. These might include, but are not restricted to, endocrine and metabolic variables, changes associated with the activity of the autonomic nervous system, immune function, and electrophysiological and brain neuroimaging methods. Particular attention will be paid to the developmental aspects of individual differences and the variables that can be evaluated early in life and allow us to characterize susceptible or resilient people.

Earlier investigations in stress research realized that somatic symptoms associated with stress were diverse and markedly different among particular subjects. Although a contribution of the characteristics of stressors can contribute to an explanation of this variety in symptoms, this was also observed under similar stressful conditions. Therefore, attention was paid to individual differences in the response to stress as one of the fundamentals of psychosomatic medicine. Some researchers focused on individual differences in coping with stress (Richard Lazarus), whereas others studied the differential biological response, mainly that of the HPA axis and the ANS. This interest is still present, although more physiological systems have been incorporated, the immune system being particularly relevant. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the developmental origin of individual differences in the response to stress and their long-term consequences. Although more experimental evidence is needed, they represent an excellent theoretical framework for future research.

Cutting-Edge Research: Neuroimaging, endocrine, autonomic, epigenetic, and immune data; Longitudinal studies; Translational research; Theoretical models; Computational approaches

What kind of papers we are soliciting: Reviews and original research papers

Prof. Antonio Armario
Prof. Roser Nadal
Dr. Javier Labad
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Personalized Medicine is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • brain neuroimaging
  • the HPA axis: basal and reactivity to stress, the circadian rhythm, CAR, hair cortisol
  • endocrine and autonomic reactivity to stress
  • vulnerability versus resilience, risk and protective factors
  • early life experiences
  • personality factors
  • sex differences
  • coping strategies

Published Papers (1 paper)

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18 pages, 917 KiB  
The Lausanne Infant Crying Stress Paradigm: Validation of an Early Postpartum Stress Paradigm with Women at Low vs. High Risk of Childbirth-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
by Vania Sandoz, Suzannah Stuijfzand, Alain Lacroix, Camille Deforges, Magali Quillet Diop, Ulrike Ehlert, Marius Rubo, Nadine Messerli-Bürgy and Antje Horsch
J. Pers. Med. 2021, 11(6), 472; - 26 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3547
Stress reactivity is typically investigated in laboratory settings, which is inadequate for mothers in maternity settings. This study aimed at validating the Lausanne Infant Crying Stress Paradigm (LICSP) as a new psychosocial stress paradigm eliciting psychophysiological stress reactivity in early postpartum mothers ( [...] Read more.
Stress reactivity is typically investigated in laboratory settings, which is inadequate for mothers in maternity settings. This study aimed at validating the Lausanne Infant Crying Stress Paradigm (LICSP) as a new psychosocial stress paradigm eliciting psychophysiological stress reactivity in early postpartum mothers (n = 52) and to compare stress reactivity in women at low (n = 28) vs. high risk (n = 24) of childbirth-related posttraumatic stress disorder (CB-PTSD). Stress reactivity was assessed at pre-, peri-, and post-stress levels through salivary cortisol, heart rate variability (high-frequency (HF) power, low-frequency (LF) power, and LF/HF ratio), and perceived stress via a visual analog scale. Significant time effects were observed for all stress reactivity outcomes in the total sample (all p < 0.01). When adjusting for perceived life threat for the infant during childbirth, high-risk mothers reported higher perceived stress (p < 0.001, d = 0.91) and had lower salivary cortisol release (p = 0.023, d = 0.53), lower LF/HF ratio (p < 0.001, d = 0.93), and marginally higher HF power (p = 0.07, d = 0.53) than low-risk women. In conclusion, the LICSP induces subjective stress and autonomic nervous system (ANS) reactivity in maternity settings. High-risk mothers showed higher perceived stress and altered ANS and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal reactivity when adjusting for infant life threat. Ultimately, the LICSP could stimulate (CB-)PTSD research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiology and Individual Differences in Stress)
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