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Epigenetic and transgenerational mechanisms in infection-mediated neurodevelopmental disorders


Weber-Stadlbauer, Ulrike (2017). Epigenetic and transgenerational mechanisms in infection-mediated neurodevelopmental disorders. Translational Psychiatry, 7(5):e1113.

Abstract

Prenatal infection is an environmental risk factor for various brain disorders with neurodevelopmental components, including autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. Modeling this association in animals shows that maternal immune activation negatively affects fetal brain development and leads to the emergence of behavioral disturbances later in life. Recent discoveries in these preclinical models suggest that epigenetic modifications may be a critical molecular mechanism by which prenatal immune activation can mediate changes in brain development and functions, even across generations. This review discusses the potential epigenetic mechanisms underlying the effects of prenatal infections, thereby highlighting how infection-mediated epigenetic reprogramming may contribute to the transgenerational transmission of pathological traits. The identification of epigenetic and transgenerational mechanisms in infection-mediated neurodevelopmental disorders appears relevant to brain disorders independently of existing diagnostic classifications and may help identifying complex patterns of transgenerational disease transmission beyond genetic inheritance. The consideration of ancestral infectious histories may be of great clinical interest and may be pivotal for developing new preventive treatment strategies against infection-mediated neurodevelopmental disorders.

Abstract

Prenatal infection is an environmental risk factor for various brain disorders with neurodevelopmental components, including autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. Modeling this association in animals shows that maternal immune activation negatively affects fetal brain development and leads to the emergence of behavioral disturbances later in life. Recent discoveries in these preclinical models suggest that epigenetic modifications may be a critical molecular mechanism by which prenatal immune activation can mediate changes in brain development and functions, even across generations. This review discusses the potential epigenetic mechanisms underlying the effects of prenatal infections, thereby highlighting how infection-mediated epigenetic reprogramming may contribute to the transgenerational transmission of pathological traits. The identification of epigenetic and transgenerational mechanisms in infection-mediated neurodevelopmental disorders appears relevant to brain disorders independently of existing diagnostic classifications and may help identifying complex patterns of transgenerational disease transmission beyond genetic inheritance. The consideration of ancestral infectious histories may be of great clinical interest and may be pivotal for developing new preventive treatment strategies against infection-mediated neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Date:May 2017
Deposited On:29 Jan 2018 09:08
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:30
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2158-3188
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2017.78
PubMed ID:28463237

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