This new work in the Lenz lab focused on determining if stress contributes to a more permeable blood-brain barrier, which might explain the surge in mast cells. These cells release histamine, a chemical usually associated with allergic responses, that could potentially alter brain development.
“Our lab is interested in early life stressors and how they impact mast cell function. We’re trying to better understand how exposure to adverse childhood experiences might lead to problems later in life,” said Lenz, who is part of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.
“These childhood traumas, such as living in an abusive home or being neglected, can contribute to a wide array of problems down the road, including drug and alcohol addiction, depression and anxiety and even cardiovascular disease,” she said.