Navigation Links
Study reveals gene expression changes with meditation
Date:12/6/2013

MADISON - With evidence growing that meditation can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body.

A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice," says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs," says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.

The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Mindfulness-based trainings have shown beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders in prior clinical studies and are endorsed by the American Heart Association as a preventative intervention. The new results provide a possible biological mechanism for therapeutic effects.

The results show a down-regulation of genes that have been implicated in inflammation. The affected genes include the pro-inflammatory genes RIPK2 and COX2 as well as several histone deacetylase (HDAC) genes, which regulate the activity of other genes epigenetically by removing a type of chemical tag. What's more, the extent to which some of those genes were downregulated was associated with faster cortisol recovery to a social stress test involving an impromptu speech and tasks requiring mental calculations performed in front of an audience and video camera.

Perhaps surprisingly, the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.

However, it is important to note that the study was not designed to distinguish any effects of long-term meditation training from those of a single day of practice. Instead, the key result is that meditators experienced genetic changes following mindfulness practice that were not seen in the non-meditating group after other quiet activities - an outcome providing proof of principle that mindfulness practice can lead to epigenetic alterations of the genome.

Previous studies in rodents and in people have shown dynamic epigenetic responses to physical stimuli such as stress, diet, or exercise within just a few hours.

"Our genes are quite dynamic in their expression and these results suggest that the calmness of our mind can actually have a potential influence on their expression," Davidson says.

"The regulation of HDACs and inflammatory pathways may represent some of the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic potential of mindfulness-based interventions," Kaliman says. "Our findings set the foundation for future studies to further assess meditation strategies for the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions."


'/>"/>

Contact: Susan Jensen
scjense1@wisc.edu
608-265-9053
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Argonne partners with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to study Chicago River microbe population
2. Feeding by tourists compromises health of already-endangered iguanas, study finds
3. Sharks prefer to sneak up from behind, study shows
4. University of Tennessee study finds crocodiles are cleverer than previously thought
5. TGen, Barrow and PCH receive $4 million grant to study genetic basis of brain injuries
6. New study identifies 5 distinct humpback whale populations in North Pacific
7. Study documents catastrophic collapse of Saharas wildlife
8. Arctic study shows key marine food web species at risk from increasing CO2
9. Study shows reforestation in Lower Mississippi Valley reduces sediment
10. New UK study suggests low vitamin D causes damage to brain
11. Can big cats co-exist? Study challenges lion threat to cheetah cubs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)...  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was ... as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest ... in Las Vegas . ... in each of the following categories: net square feet of ... attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... -- On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ... for the Biometric Exit Program. The Request for Information ... explains that CBP intends to add biometrics to confirm ... States , in order to deter visa overstays, ... Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a ... solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring ... involved, it has secured the final acceptance by ... for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus ... to be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... Laurel, NJ (PRWEB) , ... December 06, 2016 ... ... white paper on December 1, 2016 asking the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to ... the study of OA, OARSI is concerned about the growing population of OA ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... today announced it has acquired the assets of Theorem Clinical Research - ... focuses on clinical trial drug packaging, labeling, storage, reconciliation, and distribution for ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016  SRI International ... $150 million from the National Institutes of Health,s ... the Division of AIDS (NIAID-DAIDS) to support the ... non-vaccine pre-exposure (PreP) agents. Under the seven-year contract, ... product development services for candidate HIV-prevention products that ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... 5, 2016 Axovant Sciences Ltd. (NYSE: ... on the treatment of dementia, today announced that data ... of Alzheimer,s disease will be presented at the 2016 ... December 9, 2016 in San Diego ... both simple and complex measures of activities of daily ...
Breaking Biology Technology: