Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Psychopathol. 2012 Nov;24(4):1417-25. doi: 10.1017/S0954579412000806.

Childhood adversity and DNA methylation of genes involved in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and immune system: whole-genome and candidate-gene associations.

Author information

1
Yale University, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.

Abstract

In recent years, translational research involving humans and animals has uncovered biological and physiological pathways that explain associations between early adverse circumstances and long-term mental and physical health outcomes. In this article, we summarize the human and animal literature demonstrating that epigenetic alterations in key biological systems, the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and immune system, may underlie such disparities. We review evidence suggesting that changes in DNA methylation profiles of the genome may be responsible for the alterations in hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and immune system trajectories. Using some preliminary data, we demonstrate how explorations of genome-wide and candidate-gene DNA methylation profiles may inform hypotheses and guide future research efforts in these areas. We conclude our article by discussing the many important future directions, merging perspectives from developmental psychology, molecular genetics, neuroendocrinology, and immunology, that are essential for furthering our understanding of how early adverse circumstances may shape developmental trajectories, particularly in the areas of stress reactivity and physical or mental health.

PMID:
23062307
PMCID:
PMC3755948
DOI:
10.1017/S0954579412000806
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Cambridge University Press Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center