Environmental intervention as a therapy for adverse programming by ancestral stress

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McCreary, J. Keiko
Erickson, Zachary T.
Hao, XongXin
Ilnytskyy, Yaroslav
Kovalchuk, Igor
Metz, Gerlinde A. S.
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Nature Research
Ancestral stress can program stress sensitivity and health trajectories across multiple generations. While ancestral stress is uncontrollable to the filial generations, it is critical to identify therapies that overcome transgenerational programming. Here we report that prenatal stress in rats generates a transgenerationally heritable endocrine and epigenetic footprint and elevated stress sensitivity which can be alleviated by beneficial experiences in later life. Ancestral stress led to downregulated glucocorticoid receptor and prefrontal cortex neuronal densities along with precocious development of anxiety-like behaviours. Environmental enrichment (EE) during adolescence mitigated endocrine and neuronal markers of stress and improved miR-182 expression linked to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) regulation in stressed lineages. Thus, EE may serve as a powerful intervention for adverse transgenerational programming through microRNA-mediated regulation of BDNF and NT-3 pathways. The identification of microRNAs that mediate the actions of EE highlights new therapeutic strategies for mental health conditions and psychiatric disease.
Sherpa Romeo green journal. Open access article. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) applies
Epigenetics and behaviour , Stress and resilience , Ancestral stress , Transgenerational programming , Environmental enrichment , microRNAs , Prenatal stress
McCreary, J. K., Erickson, Z. T., Hao, Y., Ilnytskyy, Y., Kovalchuk, I., & Metz, G. A. S. (2016). Environmental intervention as a therapy for adverse programming by ancestral stress. Scientific Reports, 6, 37814. DOI: 10.1038/srep37814