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Potential of environmental enrichment to prevent transgenerational effects of paternal trauma


Gapp, Katharina; Bohacek, Johannes; Grossmann, Jonas; Brunner, Andrea M; Manuella, Francesca; Nanni, Paolo; Mansuy, Isabelle M (2016). Potential of environmental enrichment to prevent transgenerational effects of paternal trauma. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(11):2749-2758.

Abstract

Adverse experiences in early life are risk factors for the development of behavioral and physiological symptoms that can lead to psychiatric and cognitive disorders later in life. Some of these symptoms can be transmitted to the offspring, in some cases by non-genomic mechanisms involving germ cells. Using a mouse model of unpredictable maternal separation and maternal stress, we show that postnatal trauma alters coping behaviors in adverse conditions in exposed males when adult and in their adult male progeny. The behavioral changes are accompanied by increased glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression and decreased DNA methylation of the GR promoter in the hippocampus. DNA methylation is also decreased in sperm cells of exposed males when adult. Transgenerational transmission of behavioral symptoms is prevented by paternal environmental enrichment, an effect associated with the reversal of alterations in GR gene expression and DNA methylation in the hippocampus of the male offspring. These findings highlight the influence of both negative and positive environmental factors on behavior across generations and the plasticity of the epigenome across life.

Abstract

Adverse experiences in early life are risk factors for the development of behavioral and physiological symptoms that can lead to psychiatric and cognitive disorders later in life. Some of these symptoms can be transmitted to the offspring, in some cases by non-genomic mechanisms involving germ cells. Using a mouse model of unpredictable maternal separation and maternal stress, we show that postnatal trauma alters coping behaviors in adverse conditions in exposed males when adult and in their adult male progeny. The behavioral changes are accompanied by increased glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression and decreased DNA methylation of the GR promoter in the hippocampus. DNA methylation is also decreased in sperm cells of exposed males when adult. Transgenerational transmission of behavioral symptoms is prevented by paternal environmental enrichment, an effect associated with the reversal of alterations in GR gene expression and DNA methylation in the hippocampus of the male offspring. These findings highlight the influence of both negative and positive environmental factors on behavior across generations and the plasticity of the epigenome across life.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Functional Genomics Center Zurich
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:October 2016
Deposited On:18 Jan 2017 16:27
Last Modified:18 Jan 2017 16:27
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0893-133X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2016.87
PubMed ID:27277118

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