Stress Response and Child Health

Sci. Signal., 30 October 2012
Vol. 5, Issue 248, p. mr1
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003595

Stress Response and Child Health

  1. Evangelia Charmandari1,2,*,
  2. John C. Achermann3,
  3. Jean-Claude Carel4,
  4. Olle Soder5, and
  5. George P. Chrousos1,2
  1. 1Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, First Department of Pediatrics, University of Athens Medical School, “Aghia Sophia” Children’s Hospital; Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Athens, Greece.
  2. 2Clinical Research Center, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece.
  3. 3Developmental Endocrinology Research Group, Clinical and Molecular Genetics Unit, University College London Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK.
  4. 4Department of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology, Robert Debré Hospital, Paris, France.
  5. 5Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Pediatric Endocrinology Unit, Karolinska Institute at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
  1. *Corresponding author. E-mail: evangelia.charmandari{at}
Meeting Information: The European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) New Inroads to Child Health (NICHe) Conference on Stress Response and Child Health took place in Heraklion, Crete, Greece, 18 to 20 May 2012.


Stress is defined as a state of real or perceived threat to homeostasis. The principal effectors of the stress system are corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), arginine vasopressin, the proopiomelanocortin-derived peptides α-melanocyte–stimulating hormone and β-endorphin, the glucocorticoids, and the catecholamines norepinephrine and epinephrine. Appropriate responsiveness of the stress system to stressors is a crucial prerequisite for a sense of well-being, adequate performance of tasks, and positive social interactions. By contrast, inappropriate responsiveness of the stress system may impair growth and development and may account for various endocrine, metabolic, autoimmune, and psychiatric disorders. The development and severity of these conditions primarily depend on the genetic vulnerability of the individual, the exposure to adverse environmental factors, and the timing of stressful event(s). Prenatal life, infancy, childhood, and adolescence are critical periods characterized by increased vulnerability to stressors. This review summarizes the topics presented at the fifth New Inroads to Child Health (NICHe) Conference “Stress Response and Child Health” held at Heraklion, Crete, Greece, in May 2012.


E. Charmandari, J. C. Achermann, J.-C. Carel, O. Soder, and G. P. Chrousos, Stress Response and Child Health. Sci. Signal. 5, mr1 (2012).
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