Current research trends in early life stress and depression: Review of human studies on sensitive periods, gene–environment interactions, and epigenetics

  title={Current research trends in early life stress and depression: Review of human studies on sensitive periods, gene–environment interactions, and epigenetics},
  author={Christine M. Heim and Elisabeth B. Binder},
  journal={Experimental Neurology},
  • C. Heim, E. Binder
  • Published 31 January 2012
  • Psychology, Biology
  • Experimental Neurology

Epigenetic Programming by Early-Life Stress.

Gene–Environment Interactions and Intermediate Phenotypes: Early Trauma and Depression

The latest research findings have underscored the essential role of genotypes and epigenetic processes within the development of depression after childhood trauma, thereby building the basis for future research and clinical interventions.

Early life stress and development: potential mechanisms for adverse outcomes

Assessment of factors that influence children’s interpretation of stressors, along with stressful events, has the potential to provide further insight into the mechanisms contributing to individual differences in neurodevelopmental effects of early life stress.

Plasticity of the epigenome during early-life stress.

Advance in Stress for Depressive Disorder.

In linking stressful life events with depressive disorder onset, dysregulated HPA axis activity is supposed to play an important role in mediating aversive impacts of life stress on brain structure and function.

Investigating epigenetic consequences of early-life adversity: some methodological considerations

Issues regarding sample characteristics in epigenetic studies of early life adversity are identified and methods and technologies used for candidate gene analysis and whole epigenome studies are compared.

Epigenetic Modifications of Early-Life Stress and Adult Life Psychopathology

This chapter discusses the evidence linking how early-life environments drive long-term outcomes through the regulation of neuroendocrine and immune pathways specifically implicated in lasting perturbations in HPA axis and glucocorticoid regulation leading to vulnerability to the development of psychopathology.



Genes learn from stress: How infantile trauma programs us for depression

This work has shown that epigenetic marking by early-life stress in mice underpins sustained expression and increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, triggering endocrine and behavioral alterations that are frequent features in depression.

Early adversity and 5-HTT/BDNF genes: new evidence of gene–environment interactions on depressive symptoms in a general population

Analysis of the putative interaction between the 5-HTT gene (5-HTTLPR polymorphism), the BDNF gene (Val66Met polymorphism) and childhood adversity in accounting for adult depressive symptoms found that childhood adversity per se predicted higher levels of adult depressive Symptoms.

Persistent changes in corticotropin-releasing factor systems due to early life stress: relationship to the pathophysiology of major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is proposed that early adverse life events might render the human individual vulnerable to the effects of stress later in life, resulting in an increased risk for developing psychopathology via long-lived alterations in CRF-containing neural circuits.

Early adverse experience as a developmental risk factor for later psychopathology: Evidence from rodent and primate models

Increasing evidence supports the view that the interaction of perinatal exposure to adversity with individual genetic liabilities may increase an individual's vulnerability to the expression of

The link between childhood trauma and depression: Insights from HPA axis studies in humans

Importance of Studying the Contributions of Early Adverse Experience to Neurobiological Findings in Depression

The burgeoning evidence concerning a pre-eminent role of early adverse experience in the pathogenesis of depression is summarized and classification of depression based on developmental and neurobiological features will likely considerably improve future research in the field of depression.

Biological embedding of stress through inflammation processes in childhood

It is found that children experiencing maltreatment and depression showed significantly elevated inflammation levels, regardless of their socioeconomic status, gender, zygosity, body temperature and waist–hip ratio, which are consistent with studies reviewed elsewhere.

Dynamic DNA methylation programs persistent adverse effects of early-life stress

It is found that neuronal activity controlled the ability of MeCP2 to regulate activity-dependent transcription of the Avp gene and induced epigenetic marking, which can dynamically control DNA methylation in postmitotic neurons to generate stable changes in Avp expression that trigger neuroendocrine and behavioral alterations that are frequent features in depression.