Epigenetics and addiction

Dr. Moshe Szyf of McGill University explains current rodent epigenetic research into addiction in this October 2016 interview. “What happens during the time when there’s no drug [cocaine] exposure, there’s just the memory of the original drug exposure? And we found huge epigenetics changes during this time, the time of abstinence. It actually suggests that … Continue reading Epigenetics and addiction

Chronic pain causes epigenetic changes in the brain and immune system

This 2015 Canadian rodent study by McGill researchers found: “The critical involvement of DNA methylation in chronic pain. We show that in the PFC [prefrontal cortex], a brain region strongly implicated in chronic pain, a stunning number of promoters [control gene expression] are differentially methylated 9 months after injury. These changes are distant both in … Continue reading Chronic pain causes epigenetic changes in the brain and immune system

The primary causes of individual differences in DNA methylation are environmental factors

This 2015 Canadian human study by McGill researchers found: “Differential methylation is primarily non-genetic in origin, with non-shared environment accounting for most of the variance. These non-genetic effects are mainly tissue-specific. The full scope of environmental variation remains underappreciated.” The researchers developed their findings using adipose and blood samples from monozygotic and dizygotic twins in … Continue reading The primary causes of individual differences in DNA methylation are environmental factors

A mother’s care affects the infant’s hippocampus structure and function through epigenetic regulation of genes

This 2012 McGill University rodent study found: “Variations in maternal care in the rat affect hippocampal morphology and function as well as performance on hippocampal-dependent tests of learning and memory in the offspring. Thus, in the rat, as in humans, social influences operate during early life to influence the structure and function of brain regions … Continue reading A mother’s care affects the infant’s hippocampus structure and function through epigenetic regulation of genes

Conserved epigenetic sensitivity to early life experience in the hippocampus

This 2012 human study was done by McGill University, whose researchers in Canada are at the forefront of epigenetic studies. The subject was epigenetic DNA methylation in the hippocampus of people who experienced abuse as children and who also committed suicide. Comparisons were made with rats that were stressed in early life to identify genomic … Continue reading Conserved epigenetic sensitivity to early life experience in the hippocampus