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dc.contributor.advisorSpencer, Karen Anne
dc.contributor.advisorHealy, Sue
dc.contributor.authorWalker, David John
dc.coverage.spatialxxxvi, 400 p.en_US
dc.description.abstractStress exposure throughout life can shape ageing phenotypes by causing changes within an individual’s physiology, such that growth, lifespan and many fitness-related traits are significantly and sometimes permanently affected. Developmental increases in glucocorticoids (GCs) and subsequent programming of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis, are considered one of the primary mechanisms that program these age-related physiological changes. However, it is unclear how stress experienced throughout life interacts on physiological processes that may influence the trajectory of the ageing process within an individual. In this thesis, I used the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) to investigate both short and long-term effects of developmental and adult stress exposure on physiological processes that are known to be affected by the process of ageing: the neuroimmune system, neural cell death and survival and maintenance of oxidative balance. I aimed to establish at which point during life stress elicited the strongest programming effects; if these effects had physiological costs or benefits for the ageing individual and if there were cumulative or diminishing effects of repeated stress exposure on these physiological processes. Within the neuroimmune system, I found that post-natal stress induced neuroinflammation and caused a reduction in cell survival in later life within brain regions involved in HPA axis functioning. Repeated developmental stress also programmed a dampened apoptotic response in the ageing brain. I also found age and sex-specific effects on apoptosis, cell survival and oxidative balance measures that depended on the conditions birds experienced during development. My data show that programmed long-term changes in physiology are most likely driven by elevated GCs during the post-natal period. My research suggests that these programmed phenotypes may exhibit signs of accelerated physiological ageing or may be adaptive in promoting swifter and stronger recovery from subsequent stress exposure in later life.en_US
dc.description.sponsorship"The research conducted in this thesis was primarily supported by a Biological and Biotechnology Research Council (BBSRC) Eastbio Doctoral Training Programme studentship awarded to myself and my supervisors, Dr Karen A. Spencer (KAS) and Professor Susan D. Healy (SDH) [Grant number: BB/J01446X/1]. The following awards further supplemented the research conducted in this thesis: a BBSRC research grant awarded to Dr Cedric Zimmer (CZ), KAS and SDH (Grant number: BB/LL002264/1) and a David Phillips Research Fellowship awarded to KAS." -- Fundingen
dc.publisherUniversity of St Andrews
dc.relationData underpinning David Walker's PhD thesis. Walker, D.J., University of St Andrews, DOI:
dc.relationWalker, David & Zimmer, Cedric & Larriva, María & D. Healy, Susan & Spencer, Karen. (2019). Early-life adversity programs long-term cytokine and microglia expression within the HPA axis in female Japanese quail. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 222. jeb.187039. 10.1242/jeb.187039.en
dc.relationWalker, David & Spencer, Karen. (2017). Glucocorticoid programming of neuroimmune function. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 256. 10.1016/j.ygcen.2017.07.016. (
dc.subject.lcshStress (Psychology)--Physiological aspectsen
dc.subject.lcshAging--Physiological aspectsen
dc.subject.lcshMind and bodyen
dc.subject.lcshJapanese quail--Effect of stress onen
dc.titleStress programming throughout life history : implications for physiological ageingen_US
dc.contributor.sponsorBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)en_US
dc.contributor.sponsorEast of Scotland Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership (EASTBIO)en_US
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen_US
dc.publisher.institutionThe University of St Andrewsen_US
dc.rights.embargoreasonThesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 10th October 2021en

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