Gene-Environment Interaction

Publication Title: 
PLoS genetics

Age-related changes in DNA methylation have been implicated in cellular senescence and longevity, yet the causes and functional consequences of these variants remain unclear. To elucidate the role of age-related epigenetic changes in healthy ageing and potential longevity, we tested for association between whole-blood DNA methylation patterns in 172 female twins aged 32 to 80 with age and age-related phenotypes.

Bell, Jordana T.
Tsai, Pei-Chien
Yang, Tsun-Po
Pidsley, Ruth
Nisbet, James
Glass, Daniel
Mangino, Massimo
Zhai, Guangju
Zhang, Feng
Valdes, Ana
Shin, So-Youn
Dempster, Emma L.
Murray, Robin M.
Grundberg, Elin
Hedman, Asa K.
Nica, Alexandra
Small, Kerrin S.
MuTHER Consortium
Dermitzakis, Emmanouil T.
McCarthy, Mark I.
Mill, Jonathan
Spector, Tim D.
Deloukas, Panos
Publication Title: 
Molecular Aspects of Medicine

While the eukaryotic genome is the same throughout all somatic cells in an organism, there are specific structures and functions that discern one type of cell from another. These differences are due to the cell's unique gene expression patterns that are determined during cellular differentiation. Interestingly, these cell-specific gene expression patterns can be affected by an organism's environment throughout its lifetime leading to phenotypical changes that have the potential of altering risk of some diseases.

Tammen, Stephanie A.
Friso, Simonetta
Choi, Sang-Woon
Publication Title: 
Ageing Research Reviews

In ageing, alterations in inflammatory/immune response and antioxidant capacity lead to increased susceptibility to diseases and loss of mobility and agility. Various essential micronutrients in the diet are involved in age-altered biological functions. Micronutrients (zinc, copper, iron) play a pivotal role either in maintaining and reinforcing the immune and antioxidant performances or in affecting the complex network of genes (nutrigenomic approach) involved in encoding proteins for a correct inflammatory/immune response.

Mocchegiani, Eugenio
Costarelli, Laura
Giacconi, Robertina
Piacenza, Francesco
Basso, Andrea
Malavolta, Marco
Publication Title: 
Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology

The impact of diet and environmental factors on genes concerned with epigenetic inheritance and the mechanism of evolution has grown significantly beyond the Modern Synthesis period. Epigenetic inheritance is the passing of phenotypic change to subsequent generations in ways that are outside the genetic code of DNA. Recently, polymorphisms of the human Delta-5 (fatty acid desaturase, FADS1) and Delta-6 (FADS2) desaturase genes have been described as being associated with the level of several long-chain n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in serum phospholipids.

Alam, Shaan E.
Singh, R. B.
Gupta, Siddharth
Dherange, Parinita
De Meester, Fabien
Wilczynska, Agnieszka
Dharwadkar, Suniti
Wilson, Douglas
Hungin, Pali
Publication Title: 

Early-life stress induces persistent memory traces on our genes and programs the life-long risk for depression. Epigenetic marking of the arginine vasopressin (AVP) gene by early-life stress in mice underpins sustained expression and increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, triggering endocrine and behavioral alterations that are frequent features in depression. This epigenetic memory evolves in two steps coordinated by the epigenetic reader and writer MeCP2.

Murgatroyd, Chris
Wu, Yonghe
Bockm¸hl, Yvonne
Spengler, Dietmar
Publication Title: 
Translational Psychiatry

Waddington's original description of canalization refers to the ability of an organism to maintain phenotypic fidelity in the face of environmental and/or genetic perturbation. Development of the human brain requires exposure to a 'wild-type' environment-one that supports the optimal set of instructions for development. Recently derived brain structures in our species, such as the expanded neocortex, may be more vulnerable to decanalization because there has been insufficient time to evolve buffering capacity.

McGrath, J. J.
Hannan, A. J.
Gibson, G.
Publication Title: 

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder which can develop as a result of exposure to a traumatic event and is associated with significant functional impairment. Family and twin studies have found that risk for PTSD is associated with an underlying genetic vulnerability and that more than 30% of the variance associated with PTSD is related to a heritable component.

Skelton, Kelly
Ressler, Kerry J.
Norrholm, Seth D.
Jovanovic, Tanja
Bradley-Davino, Bekh
Publication Title: 
The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry: The Official Journal of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry

OBJECTIVES: We explored whether in utero DES exposure has produced consistent findings with regard to an increased risk of psychiatric disorders. METHODS: We reviewed systematically the epidemiological studies investigating a possible association between prenatal DES exposure and risk of psychiatric disorders. RESULTS: We identified 10 relevant studies reporting the psychiatric outcome of offspring with a history of in utero DES exposure compared to a control group.

Kebir, Oussama
Krebs, Marie-Odile
Publication Title: 
Molecular Psychiatry

Abnormal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling seems to have a central role in the course and development of various neurological and psychiatric disorders. In addition, positive effects of psychotropic drugs are known to activate BDNF-mediated signaling. Although the BDNF gene has been associated with several diseases, molecular mechanisms other than functional genetic variations can impact on the regulation of BDNF gene expression and lead to disturbed BDNF signaling and associated pathology.

Boulle, F.
van den Hove, D. L. A.
Jakob, S. B.
Rutten, B. P.
Hamon, M.
van Os, J.
Lesch, K.-P.
Lanfumey, L.
Steinbusch, H. W.
Kenis, G.
Publication Title: 
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience

The field of imaging genetics traditionally studies unidirectional associations between genes, brain functioning, and behavior. In a recent study by Ursini et al. (J Neurosci 31:6692-6698, 2011), imaging genetics methods are combined with epigenetic marks in living human beings. This approach may lead to a new field of imaging epigenetics, providing more mechanistic insight into causal pathways of how gene and environment interact and affect brain development.

Wiers, Corinde E.


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