[An update on epigenetic regulation in pathophysiologies of stress-induced psychiatric disorders]

Author: Miyagawa K, Tsuji M, Fujimori K, Takeda H.
Division of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, International University of Health and Welfare, Ohtawara, Japan.
Conference/Journal: Nihon Shinkei Seishin Yakurigaku Zasshi.
Date published: 2010 Aug
Other: Volume ID: 30 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 153-60 , Special Notes: [Article in Japanese] , Word Count: 167

Recent research has demonstrated that complex 'epigenetic' mechanisms, which regulate gene transcription without altering the DNA code, could play a critical role in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. The present review summarizes recent evidence for the existence of sustained epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in several psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and Rett syndrome. The gene transcriptions of the key molecules such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) or Reelin that play a role in on psychiatric disorders are regulated with histone modification or DNA methylation. Furthermore, one potential mechanism whereby stress can disrupt prenatal and/or neonatal development is through epigenetics, because the key issue of epigenetics is its long-term influence. In addition, we also found in the recent research that the epigenetic mechanism of gene regulation, especially histonedeacetylase, in the brain may be involved in the development of emotional resistance to stress stimuli. A better understanding of epigenetic regulation might provide new therapeutic avenues for disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, Rett syndrome and neurodevelopmental diseases.