Molecular and epigenetic mechanisms underlying cognitive and adaptive responses to stress

Trollope, Alex, Mifsud, Karen, Saunderson, Emily, and Reul, Johannes (2017) Molecular and epigenetic mechanisms underlying cognitive and adaptive responses to stress. Epigenomes, 1 (3). 17.

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Consolidation of contextual memories after a stressful encounter is essential for the survival of an organism and in allowing a more appropriate response to be elicited should the perceived threat reoccur. Recent evidence has explored the complex role that epigenetic mechanisms play in the formation of such memories and the underlying signaling pathways are becoming more apparent. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) has been shown to play a key role in these events having both genomic and non-genomic actions in the brain. GR has been shown to interact with the ERK MAPK signaling pathway which, in concert, drive epigenetic modifications and chromatin remodeling resulting in gene induction and memory consolidation. Evidence indicates that stressful events can have an effect on the offspring in utero, and that epigenetic marks altered early in life may persist into adulthood. A new and controversial area of research, however, suggests that epigenetic modifications could be inherited through the germline, a concept known as transgenerational epigenetics. This review explores the role that epigenetic processes play in the central nervous system specifically in the consolidation of stress-induced memories, the concept of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, and the potential role of epigenetics in revolutionizing the treatment of stress-related disorders through the emerging field of pharmacoepigenetics and personalized medical treatment.

Item ID: 50102
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2075-4655
Keywords: epigenetics; cognition; glucocorticoid hormone; stress; memory; learning; hippocampus; glucocorticoid receptor; mineralocorticoid receptor; immediate-early gene
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Funders: Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC)
Projects and Grants: BBSRC grant BB/K007408/1, BBSRC grant BB/G02507X/1, BBSRC grant BB/N015045/1, MRC PhD studentship
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2017 01:00
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310504 Epigenetics (incl. genome methylation and epigenomics) @ 70%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3209 Neurosciences > 320903 Central nervous system @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920111 Nervous System and Disorders @ 100%
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