Skip to comments.Early trauma influences metabolism across generations
Posted on 10/31/2020 7:19:37 PM PDT by fluorescence
People who live through traumatic experiences in childhood often suffer long-lasting consequences that affect their mental and physical health. But moreover, their children and grand-children can also be impacted as well. In this particular form of inheritance, sperm and egg cells pass on information to offspring not through their DNA sequence like classical genetic heredity, but rather via biological factors involving the epigenome that regulates genome activity. However, the big question is how the signals triggered by traumatic events become embedded in germ cells.
Our hypothesis was that circulating factors in blood play a role, says Isabelle Mansuy, professor of neuroepigenetics at the University of Zurich's Brain Research Institute and the ETH Zurich's Institute for Neuroscience. Mansuy and her team demonstrated that childhood trauma does have a lifelong influence on blood composition and that these changes are also passed to the next generation. These findings are extremely important for medicine, as this is the first time that a connection between early trauma and metabolic disorders in descendants is characterized, explains Mansuy.
In her study, Mansuy used a mouse model for early trauma that had been developed in her lab. The model is used to study how the effects of trauma in early postnatal life on male mice are transmitted to their offspring. To determine whether these early experiences have an impact on blood composition, the researchers conducted multiple analyses and found large and significant differences between blood from adult traumatized animals and blood from normal, non-traumatized control group.
Changes in lipid metabolism were particularly striking, with certain polyunsaturated fatty acids metabolites appearing in higher concentrations in the blood of traumatized male mice. These same changes were also observed in their offspring. Even more strikingly, when the serum of traumatized males was chronically injected into non-traumatized males, their offspring also developed metabolic symptoms of trauma - providing a direct link between circulating factors and germ cells, thus confirming the hypothesis that blood delivers stress signals to the gametes.
The researchers then investigated whether similar effects are present in humans. For this, they assembled a cohort of 25 children from an SOS Children's Village in Pakistan who have lost their father and were separated from their mother, and analyzed their blood and saliva. When compared with children from normal families, the orphans showed higher level of several lipid metabolites - just like the traumatized mice.
These children's traumatic experiences are comparable to those in our mouse model, and their metabolism show similar changes in blood, explains Mansuy. This demonstrates the importance of animal research for providing us with fundamental insights into human health. Up to one fourth of children across the world experience violence, abuse and neglect, that can lead to chronic diseases later in their life, highlighting the importance of Mansuy's research.
Further experiments led the team to discover a molecular mechanism by which lipid metabolites can transmit signals to animals' germ cells. PPAR, a receptor at the surface of cells, plays a key role in this process; it is activated by fatty acids and regulates gene expression and DNA structure in numerous tissues. The researchers discovered that this receptor is upregulated in the sperm of traumatized males.
Artificially activating this receptor in male mice led to lower body weight and disturbances in glucose metabolism an effect that was also seen in their offspring and grand-offspring. These and other experiments led researchers to conclude that PPAR activation in sperm cells plays a significant role in the heritability of metabolic dysfunctions caused by traumatic experiences in ancestors.
Our findings demonstrate that early trauma influences both mental and physical health in adulthood and across generations, which can be seen in factors like lipid metabolism and glucose levels, says Mansuy. This is rarely taken into consideration in clinical settings. Improving the understanding of the underlying biological processes could help medical practitioners prevent the late-onset consequences of adverse life experiences in their patients in the future.
While the article refers particularly to major stress (being orphaned), chronic low-level stress adds up and Democrats could very well be creating a long-term public health issue. Of course, that's just how they want people - weakened from chronic sickness and dependent on the state.
My parents both had days when they had nothing to eat as children during the Great Depression. They never forgot it and saturated their children with it. When I was a kid I fully expected to starve to death some day. Still do.
My mom told me I’d go blind from...
ah forget it.
But it may explain a lot of my later issues :)
I can still see though.
Lost some hearing
If trauma is passed on through generations then trauma is universal.
So how do we explain Audrey Hepburn who had to eat bulbs during the war and never looked as though she ate much else?
I have no idea what that means.
I do not think that is true. Studies before WW2 were showing that starvation of a mother affected subsequent metabolism of descendants. During WW2 Belgian famine, reduced caloric intake of the mother affected the body weight of the child into adulthood. It's interesting, if the starvation occurred during the first trimester or the third, the offspring ended up overweight or thin. The difference was about 20 pounds. There are many more studies.
That is a learned behavior.
I am surprised this article did not include the study done on flat worms.
Flat worms (playhelminthes) were kept in the dark, a light was turned on, then a shock was administered. (similar to Dr. Bateman’s experiments).
Those worms were ground up and fed to worms not so conditioned. The worms fed the shocked worms recoiled when a light was turned, similar to as if they were anticipating the shock to follow.
That’s a relief. I was worried because I was sexually abused by my father when I was younger.
But you make a good point.
And for the other FReeper who points out that we are frightening our children...that is true as well.
We are creating a generation of people who will be scared of their own shadow.
Well, after nearly starving to death you’d think she wouldn’t have been close to anorexic as an adult. Although...I’m not sure what this means either but it’s something I’ve always wondered about.
I was traumatically mis-gendered as a child./s
I was critically injured in a car accident at age 3. I’m now 74. I’m ok. My kids are ok. My grandkids are ok. The hypothesis fails.
Same here. I think my son may have escaped.
During WWII the Dutch actually ate tulip bulbs when they were facing starvation otherwise.
Turns out, tulip bulbs are edible.
Yes, there’s a famous story from the great Dutch Tulip Mania of a sailor that picked up and bit into what he thought was an onion...only it was some super-rare and valuable tulip bulb.
I really thought the posted story was looking for a way to justify or validate the current Snowflakes in our culture.
If our physical and mental conditions are in any way dictated by the trauma suffered by our ancestors, then...
Why haven’t we all regressed to being ape-like and incapable of surviving and incapable of handling ourselves?
Apparently, the modern world is a myth and there have been no technological advances in any field. Or, it must be extraterrestrial aliens that did it all.
I wonder if they taste good? Maybe a they could become a delicacy, or maybe they have health benefits?
Reminds me of Exodus 34:7
... visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
The Dutch found a similar correlation: after the war, they noticed the population of Rotterdam exposed to the 1940 bombing had a statistically higher rate of heart attacks even after correcting for other factors. Then hey noticed their children did also.
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