Navigation Links
Acute stress alters control of gene activity
Date:8/15/2012

Acute stress alters the methylation of the DNA and thus the activity of certain genes. This is reported by researchers at the Ruhr-Universitt Bochum together with colleagues from Basel, Trier and London for the first time in the journal Translational Psychiatry. "The results provide evidence how stress could be related to a higher risk of mental or physical illness", says Prof. Dr. Gunther Meinlschmidt from the Clinic of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the LWL University Hospital of the RUB. The team looked at gene segments which are relevant to biological stress regulation.

Epigenetics - the "second code" - regulates gene activity

Our genetic material, the DNA, provides the construction manual for the proteins that our bodies need. Which proteins a cell produces depends on the cell type and the environment. So-termed epigenetic information determines which genes are read, acting quasi as a biological switch. An example of such a switch is provided by methyl (CH3) groups that attach to specific sections of the DNA and can remain there for a long time - even when the cell divides. Previous studies have shown that stressful experiences and psychological trauma in early life are associated with long-term altered DNA methylation. Whether the DNA methylation also changes after acute psychosocial stress, was, however, previously unknown.

Two genes tested

To clarify this issue, the research group examined two genes in particular: the gene for the oxytocin receptor, i.e. the docking site for the neurotransmitter oxytocin, which has become known as the "trust hormone" or "anti-stress hormone"; and the gene for the nerve growth factor Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is mainly responsible for the development and cross-linking of brain cells. The researchers tested 76 people who had to participate in a fictitious job interview and solve arithmetic problems under observation - a proven means for inducing acute stress in an experiment. For the analysis of the DNA methylation, they took blood samples from the subjects before the test as well as ten and ninety minutes afterwards.

DNA methylation changes under acute psychosocial stress

Stress had no effect on the methylation of the BDNF gene. In a section of the oxytocin receptor gene, however, methylation already increased within the first ten minutes of the stressful situation. This suggests that the cells formed less oxytocin receptors. Ninety minutes after the stress test, the methylation dropped below the original level before the test. This suggests that the receptor production was excessively stimulated.

Possible link between stress and disease

Stress increases the risk of physical or mental illness. The stress-related costs in Germany alone amount to many billions of Euros every year. In recent years, there have been indications that epigenetic processes are involved in the development of various chronic diseases such as cancer or depression. "Epigenetic changes may well be an important link between stress and chronic diseases" says Prof. Meinlschmidt, Head of the Research Department of Psychobiology, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy at the LWL University Hospital. "We hope to identify more complex epigenetic stress patterns in future and thus to be able to determine the associated risk of disease. This could provide information on new approaches to treatment and prevention". The work originated within the framework of an interdisciplinary research consortium with the University of Trier, the University of Basel and King's College London. The German Research Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation supported the study.


'/>"/>

Contact: Proffesor Dr. Gunther Meinlschmidt
gunther.meinlschmidt@rub.de
49-234-507-73173
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Gene discovery could improve treatment for acute myeloid leukemia
2. Cancer scientists link ‘oncometabolite’ to onset of acute myeloid leukemia
3. Scientists identify FLT3 gene as a valid therapeutic target in acute myeloid leukemia
4. For young birds, getting stressed out can be a good thing
5. A diet high in choline during pregnancy may mean less stress for baby
6. Sick from stress? Blame your mom… and epigenetics
7. Long-distance distress signal from periphery of injured nerve cells begins with locally made protein
8. Researchers study knee stress at tissue, cellular levels
9. Bend or stretch? How stressful is hyperflexion of horses necks?
10. Red hair is a sign of oxidative stress in wild boars, but gray is a-ok
11. LSUHSC research finds treating stress prevented new MS brain lesions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/9/2016)... (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier of biometrics software and ... ended December 31, 2015.  --> ... million, an increase of 61% compared to $4.3 million in the ... 2015 was $2.6 million compared to $0.2 million in the fourth ... Higher revenue and operating income in the fourth quarter of ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... -- --> --> Fourth quarter 2015: ... 1,187% compared with fourth quarter of 2014. Gross margin was ... 30.0). Earnings per share increased to SEK 6.39 (loss: 0.49). ... 74.7). , --> --> ... M (233.6), up 1,142% compared with 2014. Gross margin was ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016 This BCC Research report provides ... reviewing the recent advances in high throughput ‘omic ... field forward. Includes forecast through 2019. ... and opportunities that exist in the bioinformatic market. ... as well as IT and bioinformatics service providers. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... PatientCrossroads announces that ... secure online PatientCrossroads platform, has exceeded both its one-year and overall recruitment goals ... study, which seeks to advance understanding of the hereditary risks for certain kinds ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Cenna Bioscience Inc., an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused ... announced today it has been selected to present at the Cavendish Global Health Impact ... Florida. The purpose of the Forum is to help family offices and foundations ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , Feb. 9, 2016  Regenicin, Inc. (OTC ... specializing in the development and commercialization of regenerative ... tissues and organs, recently reported the Company,s operating ... quarter of 2016. Lonza America , ... 2015 fiscal year in the process of consummating ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Clinovo , the cloud-based eClinical software ... Capture (EDC) system ClinCaptureand its new Contract Research Organization (CRO) Partner Program ... San Mateo, California on February 10th and 11th. Watch 2-min video . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: