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Table 1 Commonly used models of early adversity in animal studies

From: Epigenetic alterations following early postnatal stress: a review on novel aetiological mechanisms of common psychiatric disorders

Paradigm Description Rationale References
Handling Daily separation of pups as a litter from mother for 15 min from PND1–14 (up to PND21) Allows comparison of mild vs severe stress-induced effects during the early postnatal period [94]
Early weaning Weaning of pups between PND14 and PND21 Enables assessment of prolonged stress after the early postnatal period [42, 95]
Maternal separation Daily separation of pups individually or as a litter from mother for 3 h (up to 6 h) from PND1–14 (up to PND21) Ethnologically relevant as it models repeated episodes of mild stress rather than 1 episode of severe stress during the early postnatal period [96]
Maternal deprivation Single episode of separation of pups as a litter from mother for 24 h, usually on PND3 or 9 Allows determination of stress-induced effects at specific developmental time windows within the early postnatal period [41, 47, 95]
Low vs high LG-ABN Pups raised by biological mothers who are characterised as either low or high care dams on the basis of the level of licking grooming arched-back nursing they perform Enables comparison of the effects of variations in maternal care on development rather than stress exposure [39, 97]
  1. h hour, LG-ABN licking grooming arched-back nursing, PND postnatal day