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Here we report that increased pup licking and grooming (LG) and arched-back nursing (ABN) by rat mothers altered the offspring epigenome at a glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene promoter in the hippocampus. Offspring of mothers that showed high levels of LG and ABN were found to have differences in DNA methylation, as compared to offspring of 'low-LG-ABN'(More)
Maternal care influences hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function in the rat through epigenetic programming of glucocorticoid receptor expression. In humans, childhood abuse alters HPA stress responses and increases the risk of suicide. We examined epigenetic differences in a neuron-specific glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) promoter between postmortem(More)
Environmental effects on the materno-foetal interaction determine birth outcomes that predict health over the lifespan. Thus, maternal undernutrition or stress associate with low birth weight, leading to an increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular illness in the offspring. We argue that these effects are, in part, mediated by direct and indirect(More)
Early experience permanently alters behavior and physiology. These effects are, in part, mediated by sustained alterations in gene expression in selected brain regions. The critical question concerns the mechanism of these environmental "programming" effects. We examine this issue with an animal model that studies the consequences of variations in(More)
Stress responses in the adult rat are programmed early in life by maternal care and associated with epigenomic marking of the hippocampal exon 1(7) glucocorticoid receptor (GR) promoter. To examine whether such epigenetic programming is reversible in adult life, we centrally infused the adult offspring with the essential amino acid L-methionine, a precursor(More)
Mammalian genomes are compartmentalized into dense inactive chromatin that is hypermethylated and active open chromatin that is hypomethylated. It is generally accepted that this bimodal pattern of methylation is established during development and is then faithfully inherited through subsequent cell divisions by a maintenance DNA methyltransferase (DNMT1).(More)
DNA-methylation patterns are important for regulating genome functions, and are determined by the enzymatic processes of methylation and demethylation. The demethylating enzyme has now been identified: a mammalian complementary DNA encodes a methyl-CpG-binding domain, bears a demethylase activity that transforms methylated cytosine bases to cytosine, and(More)
Variations in maternal behavior are associated with differences in estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha expression in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) and are transmitted across generations such that, as adults, the female offspring of mothers that exhibit increased pup licking/grooming (LG) over the first week postpartum (i.e. high LG mothers) show increased(More)
Studies across multiple organisms reveal considerable phenotypic variation in reproductive tactics. In some species, this variation is associated with maternal effects in which variation in maternal investment results in stable individual differences in reproductive function. Recent studies with the rat suggest that maternal effects can alter the function(More)
It is widely acknowledged that the nature of the maternal care a child receives can have long-term repercussions, and that children raised in deprived environments can have severe cognitive and behavioural difficulties that last into adulthood. The mechanisms underlying these effects are not understood, but recent data from rodents provide insight into a(More)