Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/102333
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Type: Journal article
Title: Epigenetic alterations following early postnatal stress: a review on novel aetiological mechanisms of common psychiatric disorders
Author: Jawahar, M.
Murgatroyd, C.
Harrison, E.
Baune, B.
Citation: Clinical Epigenetics, 2015; 7(1):122-1-122-13
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1868-7075
1868-7083
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Magdalene C. Jawahar, Chris Murgatroyd, Emma L. Harrison and Bernhard T. Baune
Abstract: Stressor exposure during early life has the potential to increase an individual's susceptibility to a number of neuropsychiatric conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders and schizophrenia in adulthood. This occurs in part due to the dysfunctional stress axis that persists following early adversity impairing stress responsivity across life. The mechanisms underlying the prolonged nature of this vulnerability remain to be established. Alterations in the epigenetic signature of genes involved in stress responsivity may represent one of the neurobiological mechanisms. The overall aim of this review is to provide current evidence demonstrating changes in the epigenetic signature of candidate gene(s) in response to early environmental adversity. More specifically, this review analyses the epigenetic signatures of postnatal adversity such as childhood abuse or maltreatment and later-life psychopathology in human and animal models of early life stress. The results of this review shows that focus to date has been on genes involved in the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and its correlation to subsequent neurobiology, for example, the role of glucocorticoid receptor gene. However, epigenetic changes in other candidate genes such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and serotonin transporter are also implicated in early life stress (ELS) and susceptibility to adult psychiatric disorders. DNA methylation is the predominantly studied epigenetic mark followed by histone modifications specifically acetylation and methylation. Further, these epigenetic changes are cell/tissue-specific in regulating expression of genes, providing potential biomarkers for understanding the trajectory of early stress-induced susceptibility to adult psychiatric disorders.
Keywords: Early life stress; Maternal separation; Epigenetics; DNA methylation; Stress-responsive genes; Histone acetylation; Psychopathology
Description: Published online: 14 November 2015
Rights: © 2015 Jawahar et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
RMID: 0030039641
DOI: 10.1186/s13148-015-0156-3
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1003788
Appears in Collections:Psychiatry publications

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