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Exposure to stress even before conception causes genetic changes to offspring
Date:7/8/2013

the researchers examined the brains of newborn rats immediately after birth, before the mother could have any influence on them, and found that even at the neonatal stage, there was enhanced expression of the CRF-1 gene in the brains of the rats born to mothers who had been exposed to stress.

During the third stage, the researchers exposed the offspring both those whose mothers had been exposed to stress and those whose mothers were not to stress when they reached adulthood. It emerged that the expression of CRF-1 among the offspring was dependent on three factors: The sex of the offspring, the stress undergone by the mother and the stress to which the offspring were exposed. The female rats whose mothers had been exposed to stress and who themselves underwent a "stressful" behavioral test showed higher levels of CRF-1 than other groups.

"This is the first time that we showed that the genetic response to stress in rats is linked to the experiences their mothers underwent long before they even got pregnant with them," the researchers said. "We are learning more and more about intergenerational genetic transfer and in light of the findings, and in light of the fact that in today's reality many women are exposed to stress even before they get pregnant, it's important to research the degree to which such phenomenon take place in humans."


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Contact: Polina Petruhin
ppetruh1@univ.haifa.ac.il
972-543-933-092
University of Haifa
Source:Eurekalert

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