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Child Dev. 2013 Jan-Feb;84(1):58-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01641.x. Epub 2011 Sep 2.

Epigenetic vestiges of early developmental adversity: childhood stress exposure and DNA methylation in adolescence.

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  • 1University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. mjessex@wisc.edu

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.

© 2011 The Authors. Child Development © 2011 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

PMID:
21883162
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3235257
Free PMC Article

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