Dec 5, 2023

Stress Changes More Genes in the Mouse Brain Than a Head Injury

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, neuroscience

So our experiences or how we handle those experiences may have an effect on the expression of genes in our body.

A surprising thing happened when researchers began exploring whether early-life stress compounds the effects of a childhood head injury on health and behavior later in life: In an animal study, stress changed the activation level of many more genes in the brain than were changed by a bump to the head.

It’s already known that head injuries are common in young kids, especially from falling, and can be linked to mood disorders and social difficulties that emerge later in life. Adverse childhood experiences are also very common, and can raise risk for disease, mental illness and substance misuse in adulthood.

“But we don’t know how those two things can interact,” said senior study author Kathryn Lenz, associate professor of psychology at The Ohio State University. “We wanted to understand whether experiencing a traumatic brain injury in the context of early life stress circumstances could modulate the response to the brain injury. And using an animal model allows us to really get into the mechanisms through which these two things might be impacting brain development as it’s occurring.”

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