Epigenetic programming of stress responses through variations in maternal care

Fish, Eric W., Shahrokh, Dara, Bagot, Rose, Caldji, Christian, Bredy, Timothy W., Szyf, Moshe and Meaney, Michael J. (2004). Epigenetic programming of stress responses through variations in maternal care. In: John Devine, James Gilligan, Klaus A. Miczek, Rashid Shaikh and Donald Pfaff, Youth Violence: Scientific Approaches to Prevention. Conference on Scientific Approaches to Youth Violence Prevention, New York, United States, (167-180). 24-26 April 2004. doi:10.1196/annals.1330.011

Author Fish, Eric W.
Shahrokh, Dara
Bagot, Rose
Caldji, Christian
Bredy, Timothy W.
Szyf, Moshe
Meaney, Michael J.
Title of paper Epigenetic programming of stress responses through variations in maternal care
Conference name Conference on Scientific Approaches to Youth Violence Prevention
Conference location New York, United States
Conference dates 24-26 April 2004
Proceedings title Youth Violence: Scientific Approaches to Prevention   Check publisher's open access policy
Journal name Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Publication Year 2004
Sub-type Fully published paper
DOI 10.1196/annals.1330.011
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
ISBN 1-57331-525-7
ISSN 0077-8923
Editor John Devine
James Gilligan
Klaus A. Miczek
Rashid Shaikh
Donald Pfaff
Volume 1036
Issue 1
Start page 167
End page 180
Total pages 14
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Early life experiences shape an individual's physical and mental health across the lifespan. Not surprisingly, an upbringing that is associated with adversity can produce detrimental effects on health. A central theme that arises from studies in human and nonhuman species is that the effects of adversity are mediated by the interactions between a mother and her young. In this review we describe some of the long-term effects of maternal care on the offspring and we focus on the impact of naturally occurring variations in the behavior of female rats. Of particular interest are mothers that engage in high or low amounts of licking/grooming (LG) and arched-back nursing (ABN) of their pups, but do so within the normal range for this species. Such variations in LG-ABN can alter the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and cognitive and emotional development by directly affecting the underlying neural mechanisms. At the heart of these mechanisms is gene expression. By studying the hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor gene, we have identified that maternal care regulates its expression by changing two processes: the acetylation of histones H3-K9, and the methylation of the NGFI-A consensus sequence on the exon 17 promoter. Sustained “maternal effects” appear elsewhere in biology, including plants, insects, and lizards, and may have evolved to program advantages in the environments that the offspring will likely face as adults. Given the importance of early life and parent-child interactions to later behavior, prevention and intervention programs should target this critical phase of development.
Keyword Parenting
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 12 JAN 2006

Document type: Conference Paper
Sub-type: Fully published paper
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 194 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 21 Oct 2011, 19:07:45 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute