Epigenetic Vestiges of Early Developmental Adversity: Childhood Stress Exposure and DNA Methylation in Adolescence

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health University of British Columbia University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health University of British Columbia.
Child Development (Impact Factor: 4.92). 09/2011; 84(1). DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01641.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fifteen-year-old adolescents (N = 109) in a longitudinal study of child development were recruited to examine differences in DNA methylation in relation to parent reports of adversity during the adolescents' infancy and preschool periods. Microarray technology applied to 28,000 cytosine-guanine dinucleotide sites within DNA derived from buccal epithelial cells showed differential methylation among adolescents whose parents reported high levels of stress during their children's early lives. Maternal stressors in infancy and paternal stressors in the preschool years were most strongly predictive of differential methylation, and the patterning of such epigenetic marks varied by children's gender. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of prospective associations between adversities in early childhood and the epigenetic conformation of adolescents' genomic DNA.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: More than 20 years ago, Wood et al. (Curr Anthropol 33:343–370, 1992) published ‘‘The Osteological Paradox: Problems of Inferring Prehistoric Health from Skeletal Samples,’’ in which they challenged bioarchaeologists to consider the effects of heterogeneous frailty and selective mortality on health inferences in past populations. Here, we review the paper’s impact on bioarchaeology and paleopathology, focusing on recent advancements in studies of ancient health. We find the paper is often cited but infrequently engaged in a meaningful way. Despite an initial decade of limited progress, numerous researchers are now addressing components of the Paradox in more informed ways. We identify four areas of fruitful research: (1) intrasite, contextual perspectives, (2) subadults, (3) associating stress markers with demographic phenomena, and (4) skeletal lesion-formation processes. Although often seen as a problematic assumption, understanding the sources of heterogeneous frailty within human populations is a worthy research question in and of itself, and one that clearly links past and present health research within a global framework.
    Journal of Archaeological Research 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10814-015-9084-1
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Early life environments interact with genotype to determine stable phenotypic outcomes. Here we examined the influence of a variant in the brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) gene (Val66Met), which underlies synaptic plasticity throughout the central nervous system, on the degree to which antenatal maternal anxiety associated with neonatal DNA methylation. We also examined the association between neonatal DNA methylation and brain substructure volume, as a function of BDNF genotype. Infant, but not maternal, BDNF genotype dramatically influences the association of antenatal anxiety on the epigenome at birth as well as that between the epigenome and neonatal brain structure. There was a greater impact of antenatal maternal anxiety on the DNA methylation of infants with the methionine (Met)/Met compared to both Met/valine (Val) and Val/Val genotypes. There were significantly more cytosine-phosphate-guanine sites where methylation levels covaried with right amygdala volume among Met/Met compared with both Met/Val and Val/Val carriers. In contrast, more cytosine-phosphate-guanine sites covaried with left hippocampus volume in Val/Val infants compared with infants of the Met/Val or Met/Met genotype. Thus, antenatal Maternal Anxiety × BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism interactions at the level of the epigenome are reflected differently in the structure of the amygdala and the hippocampus. These findings suggest that BDNF genotype regulates the sensitivity of the methylome to early environment and that differential susceptibility to specific environmental conditions may be both tissue and function specific.
    Development and Psychopathology 02/2015; 27(1):137-50. DOI:10.1017/S0954579414001357 · 4.89 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The neuroscientific study of child poverty is a topic that has only recently emerged. In comparison with previous reviews (e.g., Hackman and Farah, 2009; Lipina and Colombo, 2009; Hackman et al., 2010; Raizada and Kishiyama, 2010; Lipina and Posner, 2012), our perspective synthesizes findings, and summarizes both conceptual and methodological contributions, as well as challenges that face current neuroscientific approaches to the study of childhood poverty. The aim of this effort is to identify target areas of study that could potentially help build a basic and applied research agenda for the coming years.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 02/2015; 9(53):1. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00053 · 2.90 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 3, 2014