Hereditary trauma: Inheritance of traumas and how they may be mediated

Hereditary trauma: Inheritance of traumas and how they may be mediated

Extreme and traumatic events can change a person — and often, years later, even affect their children. Researchers have now unmasked a piece in the puzzle of how the inheritance of traumas may be mediated. The phenomenon has long been known in psychology: traumatic experiences can induce behavioural disorders that are passed down from one generation to the next. It is only recently that scientists have begun to understand the physiological processes underlying hereditary trauma

via Top Health News — ScienceDaily:

Extreme and traumatic events can change a person — and often, years later, even affect their children. Researchers of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now unmasked a piece in the puzzle of how the inheritance of traumas may be mediated.The phenomenon has long been known in psychology: traumatic experiences can induce behavioural disorders that are passed down from one generation to the next. It is only recently that scientists have begun to understand the physiological processes underlying hereditary trauma. “There are diseases such as bipolar disorder, that run in families but can’t be traced back to a particular gene,” explains Isabelle Mansuy, professor at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. With her research group at the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich, she has been studying the molecular processes involved in non-genetic inheritance of behavioural symptoms induced by traumatic experiences in early life.Mansuy and her team have succeeded in identifying a key component of these processes: short RNA molecules. These RNAs are synthetized from genetic information (DNA) by enzymes that read specific sections of the DNA (genes) and use them as template to produce corresponding RNAs. Other enzymes then trim these RNAs into mature forms. Cells naturally contain a large number of different short RNA molecules called microRNAs. They have regulatory functions, such as controlling how many copies of a particular protein are made.Small RNAs with a huge impactThe researchers studied the number and kind of microRNAs expressed by adult mice exposed to traumatic conditions in early life and compared them with non-traumatized mice. They discovered that traumatic stress alters the amount of several microRNAs in the blood, brain and sperm — while some microRNAs were produced in excess, others were lower than in the corresponding tissues or cells of control animals. …

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Top Health News — ScienceDaily

Hereditary trauma: Inheritance of traumas and how they may be mediated

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