Exposure to direct or contextual adversities during early life programs the functioning of the brain and other biological systems, contributing to the development of physical as well as mental health issues in the long term. While the role of glucocorticoids in mediating the outcomes of early adversity has been explored for many years, less attention has been given to insulin. Beyond its metabolic effects in the periphery, central insulin action affects synaptic plasticity, brain neurotransmission, and executive functions. Knowledge about the interactions between the peripheral metabolism and brain function from a developmental perspective can contribute to prevention and diagnosis programs, as well as early interventions for vulnerable populations.
Keywords: brain; early adversity; executive function; insulin.