According to the abstract of a recent study on mice, stress early in life increased a risk for depression in adulthood. Researchers established what they labelled a two-hit stress model in mice. Baby mice that were subjected to stress during a specific postnatal period showed increased susceptibility to adult social-defeat stress. This appeared to result from long-lasting transcriptional alterations that primed a brain reward area known as the VTA or ventral tegmental area to be in a depression-like state. The VTA encoded a lifelong, latent susceptibility to depression that was revealed only after the now-adult mice encountered additional stress. Although early childhood stress could establish the groundwork for later depression, the good news was that this priming could be undone by intervention. More tomorrow.