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Causative mechanisms & integrative models linking early-life-stress to psycho-cardio-metabolic multi-morbidity

Project description

The impact of early life stress in later life

Early life stress (ELS) is a major risk factor for depression and two of its main physical comorbidities, coronary heart disease and diabetes. Some research suggests that depression develops from a complex interaction between biological and psychological processes. The EU-funded EarlyCause project will identify the biological contributions from four key interconnected domains: epigenetics, inflammation, neuroendocrine system and microbiome. It will take into account the effects of factors such as sex/gender, socioeconomics, lifestyle and behaviour. The project will combine basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, including causal inference methods, animal models of potential and postnatal stress, cellular models in various tissues, integrative bioinformatics and machine learning methods. The findings will deepen our understanding of biomarkers and innovation outputs in relation to new integrated care pathways.

Objective

EarlyCause will identify and demonstrate causative mechanisms and molecular pathways linking early life stress (ELS) to depression and two of its main physical comorbidities, namely coronary heart disease and diabetes. The consortium will disentangle the complex biological contributions from four key interconnected domains linked to ELS, namely epigenetics, inflammation, neuroendocrine system, and microbiome. Furthermore, modifying effects of environmental factors such as sex/gender, socioeconomics, lifestyle and behavior will be quantified, thus uncovering potential intervention targets that may reverse the causative mechanisms and reduce the impact of ELS on multi-morbidity development in high-risk individuals.

To achieve the goals of the project, this highly multi-disciplinary and experienced consortium will combine state-of-the-art and novel approaches from basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, including causal inference methods such as Mendelian randomisation, animal models of prenatal and postnatal stress, cellular models in various tissues, and integrative bioinformatics and machine learning methods. The consortium members will also enable access and exploitation of the largest set of European cohorts, comprising rich information on early stressors, biological and omics data, as well as depressive, cardiovascular and metabolic phenotypes. Generated data, tissue samples, experimental protocols and cell lines, as well as best practices, will be compiled and integrated into a new open-access research platform within ELIXIR to support future researchers in the emerging topics of ELS and multi-morbidity.

Finally, the project will ensure the research, clinical and socioeconomic impacts are adequately quantified and translated to allow full exploitation of the identified biomarkers and innovation outputs, in particular in relation to new integrated care pathways taking into account ELS-induced multi-morbidity in clinical practice.

Call for proposal

H2020-SC1-BHC-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-SC1-2019-Two-Stage-RTD

Coordinator

UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Net EU contribution
€ 887 156,25
Address
GRAN VIA DE LES CORTS CATALANES 585
08007 Barcelona
Spain

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Region
Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 887 156,25

Participants (14)