Maternal care determinant of longevity?

M. Giorgio, C. Renzi, S. Oliveri, G. Pravettoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maternal care is an essential early environment in mammals that ensures emotional regulation and adaptive fitness of progeny. Longevity and healthy aging are associated with favorable environmental factors including fitting social and behavioral features. In the present review, we discuss the findings that link rearing conditions and early maternal care with life span and aging from an evolutionary, psychological, and molecular perspective. The quality of maternal care may influence internal adaptation through a variety of parallel mechanisms including emotional regulation, stress sensitivity, coping and other behavioral strategies in response to events requiring adaptation. From a biological perspective, it regulates physiological pathways that may persist in adulthood through epigenetic mechanisms, influencing disease susceptibility and, potentially, longevity. Abnormal maternal care induces maladaptation that persists over the life span, may accelerate the onset of aging associated diseases, and shorten life span. This may have important implications in the development of preventive approaches and early interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalArchives Italiennes de Biologie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Attachment
  • Health
  • Longevity
  • Maternal care
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Medicine(all)
  • Cell Biology


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