Molecular impacts of childhood abuse on the human brain.

TitleMolecular impacts of childhood abuse on the human brain.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsIbrahim P, Almeida D, Nagy C, Turecki G
JournalNeurobiol Stress
Date Published2021 Nov

Childhood abuse (CA) is a prevalent global health concern, increasing the risk of negative mental health outcomes later in life. In the literature, CA is commonly defined as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, as well as neglect. Several mental disorders have been associated with CA, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder, along with an increased risk of suicide. It is thought that traumatic life events occurring during childhood and adolescence may have a significant impact on essential brain functions, which may persist throughout adulthood. The interaction between the brain and the external environment can be mediated by epigenetic alterations in gene expression, and there is a growing body of evidence to show that such changes occur as a function of CA. Disruptions in the HPA axis, myelination, plasticity, and signaling have been identified in individuals with a history of CA. Understanding the molecular impact of CA on the brain is essential for the development of treatment and prevention measures. In this review, we will summarize studies that highlight the molecular changes associated with CA in the human brain, along with supporting evidence from peripheral studies and animal models. We will also discuss some of the limitations surrounding the study of CA and propose extracellular vesicles as a promising future approach in the field.

Alternate JournalNeurobiol Stress
PubMed ID34141833
PubMed Central IDPMC8187840