Germ Cell Origins of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Risk: The Transgenerational Impact of Parental Stress Experience.
Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Mar 23. Epub 2015 Mar 23. PMID: 25895429
Ali B Rodgers
Altered stress reactivity is a predominant feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and may reflect disease vulnerability, increasing the probability that an individual will develop PTSD following trauma exposure. Environmental factors, particularly prior stress history, contribute to the developmental programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress axis. Critically, the consequences of stress experiences are transgenerational, with parental stress exposure impacting stress reactivity and PTSD risk in subsequent generations. Potential molecular mechanisms underlying this transmission have been explored in rodent models that specifically examine the paternal lineage, identifying epigenetic signatures in male germ cells as possible substrates of transgenerational programming. Here, we review the role of these germ cell epigenetic marks, including posttranslational histone modifications, DNA methylation, and populations of small noncoding RNAs, in the development of offspring stress axis sensitivity and disease risk.