Project Von ungünstigen und stressreichen Erfahrungen in der Kindheit zur späteren Angsterkrankung: Identifikation…

Basic data

Title:
Von ungünstigen und stressreichen Erfahrungen in der Kindheit zur späteren Angsterkrankung: Identifikation epigenetischer und zerebraler Biomarker
Duration:
01/12/2016 to 01/12/2019
Abstract / short description:
Anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental disorders with a twelve-month prevalence of 14% in the European population. The aetiology of anxiety is influenced by genetic (heritability estimates: 30 – 68%) as well as environmental factors. The contribution of early life adversities to pathopysiological processes which lead to an increased risk for anxiety disorders later in life has been consistently described, but the underlying biological mechanisms are still poorly understood. Evidence is emerging, that epigenetic processes might play a role in the physiological responses linking early life adversities and anxiety disorders. It has been demonstrated that both, anxiety disorders and early life adversities, are associated with distinct alterations of the brain. In contrast to numerous genetic imaging studies performed to date, the influence of epigenetic processes on cerebral connectivity patterns and more importantly their potential mediating function between early life adversities and the occurrence of anxiety disorders remains to be elucidated.
The aims of the proposed research project are therefore to i) identify peripheral epigenetic biomarkers which could predict the occurrence of anxiety disorders in individuals previously subjected to early life adversities and to ii) evaluate the cerebral correlates of epigenetic influences of early life adversities on the occurrence of anxiety disorders and their potential function as mediators between epigenetic biomarkers and anxiety disorders.
We intend to investigate early life adversity-responsive genes in a large cross-sectional cohort of adult anxiety disorder patients and healthy control individuals to identify whether those genes qualify as epigenetic biomarkers of anxiety disorder. Furthermore, in an imaging epigenetics approach, we aim to investigate the influence of the epigenetic regulation of those genes on brain properties to localize cerebral mediators of epigenetic-driven effects of early life adversities on the development of anxiety disorders.
The current approach will lead to a better understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms leading from early life adversities to adult anxiety disorder. Moreover, deeper insights into the epigenetic regulation of anxiety disorder could open new avenues in diagnoses, treatment, and prevention and a panel of peripheral biomarkers could be used to identify individuals at risk for anxiety disorders early after the exposure to early life adversities which in turn might contribute to the prevention of disease onset as protective strategies could be applied promptly.
Keywords:
Angsterkrankungen
epigenetics
Epigenetik
fMRI
functional magnetic resonance imaging, funktionelle Magnetresonanztomographie
stress
Stress
ELA

Involved staff

Managers

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Hospitals and clinical institutes, Faculty of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Hospitals and clinical institutes, Faculty of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Hospitals and clinical institutes, Faculty of Medicine

Local organizational units

Department of Neurology with Focus on Epileptology
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Hospitals and clinical institutes, Faculty of Medicine

Funders

Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
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