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The lasting impact of early‐life adversity on individuals and their descendants: potential mechanisms and hope for intervention

The lasting impact of early‐life adversity on individuals and their descendants: potential... The adverse effects of early‐life stress are pervasive, with well‐established mental and physical health consequences for exposed individuals. The impact of early adverse experiences is also highly persistent, with documented increases in risk for mental illness across the life span that are accompanied by stable alterations in neural function and hormonal responses to stress. Here, we review some of these ‘stress phenotypes’, with a focus on intermediary factors that may signal risk for long‐term mental health outcomes, such as altered development of the fear regulation system. Intriguingly, recent research suggests that such stress phenotypes may persist even beyond the life span of the individuals, with consequences for their offspring and grand‐offspring. Phenotypic characteristics may be transmitted to future generations via either the matriline or the patriline, a phenomenon that has been demonstrated in both human and animal studies. In this review, we highlight behavioral and epigenetic factors that may contribute to this multigenerational transmission and discuss the potential of various treatment approaches that may halt the cycle of stress phenotypes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Genes, Brain and Behavior Wiley

The lasting impact of early‐life adversity on individuals and their descendants: potential mechanisms and hope for intervention

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References (165)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society
ISSN
1601-1848
eISSN
1601-183X
DOI
10.1111/gbb.12263
pmid
26482536
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The adverse effects of early‐life stress are pervasive, with well‐established mental and physical health consequences for exposed individuals. The impact of early adverse experiences is also highly persistent, with documented increases in risk for mental illness across the life span that are accompanied by stable alterations in neural function and hormonal responses to stress. Here, we review some of these ‘stress phenotypes’, with a focus on intermediary factors that may signal risk for long‐term mental health outcomes, such as altered development of the fear regulation system. Intriguingly, recent research suggests that such stress phenotypes may persist even beyond the life span of the individuals, with consequences for their offspring and grand‐offspring. Phenotypic characteristics may be transmitted to future generations via either the matriline or the patriline, a phenomenon that has been demonstrated in both human and animal studies. In this review, we highlight behavioral and epigenetic factors that may contribute to this multigenerational transmission and discuss the potential of various treatment approaches that may halt the cycle of stress phenotypes.

Journal

Genes, Brain and BehaviorWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2016

Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;

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