Potential of Environmental Enrichment to Prevent Transgenerational Effects of Paternal Trauma

Gapp, K. et al. wrote about the “Potential of Environmental Enrichment to Prevent Transgenerational Effects of Paternal Trauma” in Neuropsychopharmacol 41, 2749–2758 (2016).

They “used a mouse model of unpredictable maternal separation combined with unpredictable maternal stress (MSUS) to examine the consequences of traumatic stress on coping behaviors in adulthood and across generations, and the potential contribution of (glucocorticoid receptors) GR. We show that MSUS affects avoidance behaviors and learning in aversive environments in exposed fathers and their male offspring. This is associated with an increase in GR expression in the hippocampus, and with decreased DNA methylation of GR promoter in the hippocampus and in germ cells. We show that transmission of the effects of paternal trauma can be prevented by paternal (environmental enrichment) EE, suggesting a reversibility of these effects.”

Editors Note: Dad’s early environmental adversity alter his response to traumatic stress as an adult, and this can be passed to the next generation via epigenetic changes in DNA methylation, histone and microRNA chemical changes persisting in sperm.  If the dad with early life adversity is housed in an enriched environment, he does not have the altered response to stress or the changes in GR, and his offspring do not have the transgenerational alterations in stress responsively.  This could probably happen in people if we could only figure out to super good environmental enrichment in those having early life adversity.  Having lots of stress as a neonate and then being adopted out to wonderful foster family could be the basis for a naturalistic study of this sort of result.


Comments are closed.