Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Epigenetics - Psychopathology #2

Prenatal stress can have a lasting detrimental impact on psychological health. In a recent study investigating correlations among maternal in pregnancy and methylation in teenagers and their mothers, it has been found that children of women who were abused during pregnancy were significantly more likely than others to have methylated glucocorticoid-receptor genes, which in turn change the response to stress, leading to a higher susceptibility to anxiety. As these sustained epigenetic modifications are established in utero, the researchers consider this to be a plausible mechanism by which prenatal stress may program adult psychosocial function. Prenatal stress is known to alter the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis regulatory function later in life. Specifically gestational marital discord is associated with psychopathology of the offspring.

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