Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A father's stress may affect his unborn children

Date:
September 6, 2011
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Does Dad's stress affect his unborn children? According to the results of a new study, it seems the answer may be "yes, but it's complicated."

Does Dad's stress affect his unborn children? According to the results of a new study in Elsevier's Biological Psychiatry, it seems the answer may be "yes, but it's complicated."

The risk of developing depression, which is significantly increased by exposure to chronic stress, is influenced by both environment and genetics. The interplay of these two factors is quite complex, but in fact, there is even a third factor that most of us know nothing about -- epigenetics. Epigenetics is the science of changes in genetic expression that are not caused by actual changes in DNA sequencing. It is these mechanisms that have been the recent focus of intergenerational investigations into the transmission of stress vulnerability.

Inheritance is complex. We've all known that mothers and fathers have tremendous influence on their children, but "this study highlights how complicated the relationship between genetic, epigenetic, and environmental contributions can be with regards to the inheritance of important behavioral traits," commented Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry.

Most work to date has focused on maternal effects. In this fascinating new study, researchers investigated paternal effects instead, and found that male mice exposed to chronic stress pass those stress behaviors along to their offspring. Both their male and female offspring showed increased depression and anxiety-like behaviors, although the effects were stronger in males. Importantly, these behavioral changes were only present in offspring produced through natural reproduction, and not in those offspring that were produced via in vitro fertilization. That interesting twist suggests that most stress-related vulnerabilities are transmitted to subsequent generations behaviorally, rather than epigenetically.

"This type of translational animal work is important to help scientists focus their work in humans," explained lead author Dr. Eric Nestler, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "These findings in mice raise the possibility that part of an individual's risk for clinical depression or other stress-related disorders may be determined by his or her father's life exposure to stress, a provocative suggestion that now requires direct study in humans."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David M. Dietz, Quincey LaPlant, Emily L. Watts, Georgia E. Hodes, Scott J. Russo, Jian Feng, Ronald S. Oosting, Vincent Vialou, Eric J. Nestler. Paternal Transmission of Stress-Induced Pathologies. Biological Psychiatry, 2011; 70 (5): 408 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.05.005

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "A father's stress may affect his unborn children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831081606.htm>.
Elsevier. (2011, September 6). A father's stress may affect his unborn children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831081606.htm
Elsevier. "A father's stress may affect his unborn children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831081606.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins