Eating Disorders, Heredity and Environmental Activation: Getting Epigenetic Concepts into Practice

TitleEating Disorders, Heredity and Environmental Activation: Getting Epigenetic Concepts into Practice
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsSteiger H, Booij L
JournalJournal of clinical medicine
Volume9
Issue5
Pagination1332
Date Published2020/05/03
ISBN Number2077-03832077-0383
KeywordsAnorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, DNA Methylation, eating disorders, epigenetics, gene-environment interactions
Abstract

Epigenetic mechanisms are believed to link environmental exposures to alterations in gene expression, and in so doing, to provide a physical substrate for the activation of hereditary potentials by life experiences. In keeping with this idea, accumulating data suggest that epigenetic processes are implicated in eating-disorder (ED) etiology. This paper reviews literature on putative links between epigenetic factors and EDs, and examines ways in which epigenetic programming of gene expression could account for gene-environment interactions acting in the EDs. The paper also presents evidence suggesting that epigenetic processes link malnutrition and life stresses (gestational, perinatal, childhood, and adult) to risk of ED development. Drawing from empirical evidence and clinical experience, we propose that an epigenetically informed understanding of ED etiology can benefit patients, caregivers, and clinicians alike, in the sense that the perspective can reduce judgmental or blameful attitudes on the part of clinicians and caregivers, and increase self-acceptance and optimism about recovery on the part of those affected.

URLhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32375223
Short TitleJ Clin Med