Emotional responses and BDNF methylation

This 2019 German human study found: “A critical role of BDNF [brain-derived neurotrophic factor] methylation in human amygdala response to negative emotional stimuli, whereby: High BDNF methylation rates were for the first time shown to be associated with a high reactivity in the amygdala; and High BDNF methylation and high amygdala reactivity were associated with … Continue reading Emotional responses and BDNF methylation

Prenatal stress heightened adult chronic pain

This 2019 McGill rodent study found: “Prenatal stress exacerbates pain after injury. Analysis of mRNA expression of genes related to epigenetic regulation and stress responses in the frontal cortex and hippocampus, brain structures implicated in chronic pain, showed distinct sex and region-specific patterns of dysregulation. In general, mRNA expression was most frequently altered in the … Continue reading Prenatal stress heightened adult chronic pain

A study of gene-environment interactions

This 2018 Hungary/UK study used Bayesian analysis to better understand gene-environment interactions that produce depression: “Most genetic studies do not consider the effect of stressors which may be one reason for the lack of replicable results in candidate gene studies, GWAS [genome-wide association studies] and between human studies and animal models. Animal models of depression … Continue reading A study of gene-environment interactions

DNA methylation and childhood adversity

This 2017 Georgia human review covered: “Recent studies, primarily focused on the findings from human studies, to indicate the role of DNA methylation in the associations between childhood adversity and cardiometabolic disease in adulthood. In particular, we focused on DNA methylation modifications in genes regulating the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis as well as the immune system.” Recommendations … Continue reading DNA methylation and childhood adversity

Stress consequences on gut bacteria, behavior, immune system, and neurologic function

This 2015 Canadian rodent study found: “Chronic social defeat induced behavioral changes that were associated with reduced richness and diversity of the gut microbial community. The degree of deficits in social, but not exploratory behavior was correlated with group differences between the microbial community profile. Defeated mice also exhibited reduced abundance of pathways involved in … Continue reading Stress consequences on gut bacteria, behavior, immune system, and neurologic function

It is known: Are a study’s agendas more important than its evidence?

This 2015 Swiss human study’s Abstract began: “It is known that increased circulating glucocorticoids in the wake of excessive, chronic, repetitive stress increases anxiety and impairs Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) signaling.” The study had several statements that were unconvincingly supported by the study’s findings. One such statement in the Conclusions section was: “This study supports … Continue reading It is known: Are a study’s agendas more important than its evidence?

A study of stress factors and neuroplasticity during infancy/early childhood

This 2015 French rodent study found: “The coordinated actions of BDNF and glucocorticoids promote neuronal plasticity and that disruption in either pathway could set the stage for the development of stress-induced psychiatric diseases. Genetic strategies that disrupted GR [glucocorticoid receptor] phosphorylation or TrkB [the BDNF receptor] signaling in vivo impaired the neuroplasticity to chronic stress … Continue reading A study of stress factors and neuroplasticity during infancy/early childhood

Familiar stress opens up an epigenetic window of neural plasticity

This 2015 Italian rodent study found: “There is a window of plasticity that allows familiar and novel experiences to alter anxiety– and depressive-like behaviors, reflected also in electrophysiological changes in the dentate gyrus (DG). A consistent biomarker of mood-related behaviors in DG is reduced type 2 metabotropic glutamate (mGlu2), which regulates the release of glutamate. … Continue reading Familiar stress opens up an epigenetic window of neural plasticity

A review of genetic and epigenetic approaches to autism

This 2015 Chicago review noted: “Recent developments in the research of ASD [autistic spectrum disorder] with a focus on epigenetic pathways as a complement to current genetic screening. Not all children with a predisposing genotype develop ASD. This suggests that additional environmental factors likely interact with the genome in producing ASD. Increased risk of ASD … Continue reading A review of genetic and epigenetic approaches to autism

Adverse effects of inflammation and stress on hippocampal synapses

This dense and highly-jargoned 2015 rodent study found: “The suppression of BDNF [brain-derived neurotrophic factor] signaling, LTP [long-term potentiation], and memory may be driven by an increased sensitivity to IL-1β [the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 1β] that occurs directly at synapses.” The researchers reversed the adverse effects of IL-1β after they induced stress and inflammation. Blocking … Continue reading Adverse effects of inflammation and stress on hippocampal synapses