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."

Related Articles


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 April 20, 2015 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 April 20, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, April 20, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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