A one-sided review of stress

The subject of this 2016 Italian/New York review was the stress response: “The stress response, involving the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical [HPA] axis and the consequent release of corticosteroid hormones, is indeed aimed at promoting metabolic, functional, and behavioral adaptations. However, behavioral stress is also associated with fast and long-lasting neurochemical, structural, and behavioral changes, … Continue reading A one-sided review of stress

What is epigenetic inheritance?

This 2016 review by Eric Nestler, a well-known and well-funded researcher, entitled Transgenerational Epigenetic Contributions to Stress Responses: Fact or Fiction? concluded: “Further work is needed to understand whether and to what extent true epigenetic inheritance of stress vulnerability adds to the well-established and powerful influence of genetics and environmental exposures in determining an individual’s … Continue reading What is epigenetic inheritance?

Lifelong effects of stress

A 2016 commentary A trilogy of glucocorticoid receptor actions that included two 2015 French rodent studies started out: “Glucocorticoids (GCs) belong to a class of endogenous, stress-stimulated steroid hormones. They have wide ranging physiologic effects capable of impacting metabolism, immunity, development, stress, cognition, and arousal. GCs exert their cellular effects by binding to the GC … Continue reading Lifelong effects of stress

Treating prenatal stress-related disorders with an oxytocin receptor agonist

This 2015 French/Italian rodent study found: “Chronic systemic treatment with carbetocin [unavailable in the US] in PRS [prenatally restraint stressed] rats corrected: the defect in glutamate release, anxiety– and depressive-like behavior, and abnormalities: in social behavior, in the HPA response to stress, and in the expression of stress-related genes in the hippocampus and amygdala. These … Continue reading Treating prenatal stress-related disorders with an oxytocin receptor agonist

Epigenetic consequences of early-life trauma: What are we waiting for?

This 2015 UK human review discussed: “The progress that has been made by studies that have investigated the relationship between depression, early trauma, the HPA axis and the NR3C1 [glucocorticoid receptor] (GR) gene. Gene linkage studies for depression, as well as for other common complex disorders, have been perceived by some to be of only … Continue reading Epigenetic consequences of early-life trauma: What are we waiting for?

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

Psychological therapy and DNA methylation

This 2015 worldwide human study was: “The largest study to date investigating the role of HPA [hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal] axis related genes in response to a psychological therapy. Furthermore, this is the first study to demonstrate that DNA methylation changes may be associated with response to psychological therapies in a genotype-dependent manner. In this study, we tested … Continue reading Psychological therapy and DNA methylation

The effects of inescapable, uncontrollable, repeated stress on the hippocampus

This 2015 MIT rodent study found: “Behavioral stress impairs cognitive function via activation of a specific direct neural circuit from the basolateral amygdala to the dorsal hippocampus. Moreover, we delineate a molecular mechanism by which behavioral stress is translated to hippocampal dysfunction via a p25/Cdk5 (cyclin-dependent kinase 5)-dependent pathway and epigenetic alterations of neuroplasticity-related gene … Continue reading The effects of inescapable, uncontrollable, repeated stress on the hippocampus

A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?

This 2015 UK rodent study found: “An unexpected role for the GR [glucocorticoid receptor] in promoting accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. We also identify reduced GR expression in several common human cancers, thereby implicating GR as a novel tumor suppressor gene.” One of the researchers said: “Cancer is caused by cell division going wrong, but … Continue reading A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?