The impact of early life stress in later life

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

Learn more about the project and its objectives on Cordis - EU research results.

Read more

Identifying Causative Mechanisms Linking Early-Life Stress to Psycho-Cardio-Metabolic Multi-Morbidity: The EarlyCause Project

Read the Preprint of the EarlyCause Project Publication:

Introduction: Depression, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are among the major non-communicable diseases, leading to significant disability and mortality worldwide. These diseases may share environmental and genetic determinants associated with multimorbid patterns. Stressful early-life events are among the primary factors associated with the development of mental and physical diseases. However, possible causative mechanisms linking early life stress (ELS) with psycho-cardio-metabolic (PCM) multi-morbidity are not well understood. This prevents a full understanding of causal pathways towards shared risk of these diseases and the development of coordinated preventive and therapeutic interventions.
Methods and analysis: This paper describes the study protocol for EarlyCause, a large-scale and inter-disciplinary research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project takes advantage of human longitudinal birth cohort data, animal studies and cellular models to test the hypothesis of shared mechanisms and molecular pathways by which ELS shape an individual’s physical and mental health in adulthood. The study will research in detail how ELS converts into biological signals embedded simultaneously or sequentially in the brain, the cardiovascular and metabolic systems. The research will mainly focus on four biological processes including possible alterations of the epigenome, neuroendocrine system, inflammatome, and the gut microbiome. Life course models will integrate the role of modifying factors as sex, socioeconomics, and lifestyle with the goal to better identify groups at risk as well as inform promising strategies to reverse the possible mechanisms and/or reduce the impact of ELS on multi-morbidity development in high-risk individuals. These strategies will help better manage the impact of multi-morbidity on human health and the associated risk.
Ethics and dissemination: The study has been approved by the Ethics Board of the European Commission. The results will be published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and disseminated to and communicated with clinicians, patient organisations and media.

Identifying Causative Mechanisms Linking Early-Life Stress to Psycho-Cardio-Metabolic Multi-Morbidity: The EarlyCause Project
Nicole Mariani, Alessandra Borsini, Charlotte A.M. Cecil, Janine F. Felix, Sylvain Sebert, Annamaria Cattaneo, Esther Walton, Yuri Milaneschi, Guy Cochrane, Clara Amid, Jeena Rajan, Juliette Giacobbe, Yolanda Sanz, Ana Agustí, Tania Sorg, Yann Herault, Jouko Miettunen, Priyanka Parmar, Nadia Cattane, Vincent Jaddoe, Jyrki Lötjönen, Carme Buisan, Miguel A. González Ballester, Gemma Piella, Josep L. Gelpi, Femke Lamers, Brenda WJH Penninx, Henning Tiemeier, Malte von Tottleben, Rainer Thiel, Katharina F. Heil, Marjo-Riitta Järvelin, Carmine Pariante, Isabelle M. Mansuy, Karim Lekadir
bioRxiv 2020.07.08.181958; doi:

Download the Preprint Read the Preprint
This project is funded by
Grant no. 848158

Share project / Contact us