Epigenetics of Lifestyle

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Recent advances in the fields of genomics and bioinformatics have made it increasingly clear that genetic sequence alone cannot explain how the genome regulates the development and function of ...
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Epigenetics of Stress

Pp. 70-89 (20)

Andrew Collins, María Gutièrrez-Mecinas, Alexandra F. Trollope and Johannes M.H.M. Reul

Abstract

Poor stress-coping is associated with a greater chance of developing a psychiatric illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. Lifestyle interventions which facilitate more appropriate responses to stress are much sought after. Exercise is one such intervention and is now commonly being prescribed as a cotreatment along with drugs for treating depression. Exercised rodents display reduced anxiety and impulsivity in a variety of behavioral paradigms. Rats exposed to psychological stress show differential epigenetic and gene expression mechanisms at the dentate gyrus (DG) after long-term voluntary exercise. Alterations within ERK MAPK signalling to chromatin seem to modulate the number of epigenetically marked neurons in the DG, improving cognitive responses to a stress-related event. Other lifestyle interventions such as nutrition or better maternal care in early life have been shown to induce changes at the epigenome which impact positively on mental health.

Keywords:

Stress, brain, hippocampus, learning, memory, chromatin, histone, exercise, glucocorticoid hormone, HPA axis, dentate gyrus, ERK MAPK, MSK1, immediate early gene, PTSD, anxiety, depression, cognition, adaptation, early life experience, DNA methylation, c-Fos, Egr-1, social defeat, CREB.

Affiliation:

Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology, Dorothy Hodgkin Building, University of Bristol, Whitson Street, Bristol, BS1 3NY, United Kingdom