Early life adversity and the epigenetic programming of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function.

TitleEarly life adversity and the epigenetic programming of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsAnacker C, O'Donnell K, Meaney MJ
JournalDialogues Clin Neurosci
Volume16
Issue3
Pagination321-33
Date Published2014 Sep
ISSN1958-5969
KeywordsAnimals, Child Abuse, Child, Preschool, Developmental Disabilities, Epigenesis, Genetic, Humans, Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System, Pituitary-Adrenal System
Abstract

We review studies with human and nonhuman species that examine the hypothesis that epigenetic mechanisms, particularly those affecting the expression of genes implicated in stress responses, mediate the association between early childhood adversity and later risk of depression. The resulting studies provide evidence consistent with the idea that social adversity, particularly that involving parent-offspring interactions, alters the epigenetic state and expression of a wide range of genes, the products of which regulate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function. We also address the challenges for future studies, including that of the translation of epigenetic studies towards improvements in treatments.

Alternate JournalDialogues Clin Neurosci
PubMed ID25364283
PubMed Central IDPMC4214175