Environmental Risk factors related to mental disorders and the GxExD interaction Model

Departament Biologia Evolutiva, Ecología i Ciències Ambientals

Departament Biologia Evolutiva, Ecología i Ciències Ambientals

Secció Zoologia i Antropologia Biológica

Dra. Lourdes Fañanas Saura
Catedrática- Professor
Facultat de Biologia
Universitat de Barcelona

Av. Diagonal, 643 Ed. Margalef, 2n pis
08028 Barcelona
Telf: +34 934021421
Email: lfananas@ub.edu
www.cibersam.es

Principal investigators: Fañanás Saura, Lourdes • Arias Sampériz, Bárbara Researchers: Rosa de la Cruz, Araceli • Mitjans Niubó, Marina, • Papiol Miró, Sergi • Córdova Palomera, Aldo  PhD students: Palma Gudiel, Helena • Soler Garcia, Jordi • Marqués Feixa, Laia

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Current
Research

Research Topics

Mental disorders are the main cause of morbidity burden as measured by DALYs in the EU. Every year, over a third of the total EU population suffers from mental disorders and, except for substance abuse disorders, there are no substantial cultural or country variations (Wittchen et al., 2010). Pathophysiological changes in the brain that are associated with psychiatric disorders include differences in the sizes of specific brain regions, neurochemical changes at the synaptic cleft, changes in the regulation of gene expression and alterations in the connectivity of different brain areas, among others (Park & Friston, 2013).

Most psychiatric disorders share important features, including a substantial genetic predisposition and a contribution from different environmental factors including: i) prenatal and perinatal conditions (maternal stress, hypoxia, preeclampsia, etc.) (Palma-Gudiel et al., 2015; 2016), ii) childhood exposure to stress (maltreatment, abuse, neglect), and iii) pubertal-adolescent exposure to drug consumption.

Epigenetic mechanisms include histone modifications, DNA methylation and microRNAs, among others. This raised the possibility that DNA methylation patterns might play a role in programming the genome in adaptive responses to changing environments early in life and perhaps throughout life; accordingly we could hypothesize that certain exposures during early life might result in maladaptive reprogramming of gene expression circuitries by DNA methylation leading to permanent disruptive brain functioning in late life and an increased risk for mental disorders.

Our research group is focused in the study of this mechanism, together with complementary GxE approaches, in representative samples of young and adult individuals from both clinical and general populations. Our work is developed in collaboration with researchers from several Spanish and European clinical institutions.


Selected
Publications

Palma-Gudiel, H.; Peralta, V.; Deushle, M.; Navarro, V.; Fañanás, L. Epigenetics-by-sex interaction for somatization conferred by methylation at the promoter region of SLC6A4 gene. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 8; 89:125-131. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.09.002

Mitjans, M.; Seidel J.; Begemann, M.; Bockhop, F.; Moya-Higueras, J.; Bansal, V.; Wesolowski, J.; Ibáñez, MI.; Kovacevic, F., Fañanás, L.; Wolf, H.; Ortet-Fabregat, G.; Zwanzger, P.; Klein, V.; Lange, I.; Tänzer, A.; Dudeck, M.; Penke, L.; Tebartz Van Elst, L.; Bittner, R.; Schmidmeie,r R.; Frees, R.; Müller-Isberner, R.; Wiltfang, J.; Bliesener, T.; Bonn, S.; Müller, Jl.; Arias, B.; Ehrenreich, H. Violent aggression predicted by multiple pre-adult environmental hits Mol Psychiatry. 2018 May 24. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0043-3

Palma-Gudie,l H.; Cordova-Palomera, A.; Tornador, C.; Falcon, C.; ,Bargallo, N.; Deco, G.; Fañanás, L. Increased methylation at an unexplored NR3C1 glucocorticoid responsive element is associated with anxious-depressive disorders and decreased hippocampal connectivity. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2018 May; 28(5):579-588. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2018.03.015

Córdova-Palomera, A.; Tornador, C.; Falcón, C.; Bargalló, N.; Crespo-Facorro, B.; Bambrilla, P.; Deco, G.; Fañanás, L. Environmental factors linked to depression vulnerability are associated with altered cerebellar resting-state synchronization. Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 28; 6:37384. doi: 10.1038/srep37384.

Palma-Gudiel H; Fañanás L. An integrative review of methylation at the serotonin transporter gene and its dialogue with environmental risk factors, psychopathology and 5-HTTLPR. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Jan; 72:190-209. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.11.011

Selected
Publications

Author

Identification

Palma-Gudiel, H.; Peralta, V.; Deushle, M.; Navarro, V.; Fañanás, L. Epigenetics-by-sex interaction for somatization conferred by methylation at the promoter region of SLC6A4 gene. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 8; 89:125-131. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.09.002

Mitjans, M.; Seidel J.; Begemann, M.; Bockhop, F.; Moya-Higueras, J.; Bansal, V.; Wesolowski, J.; Ibáñez, MI.; Kovacevic, F., Fañanás, L.; Wolf, H.; Ortet-Fabregat, G.; Zwanzger, P.; Klein, V.; Lange, I.; Tänzer, A.; Dudeck, M.; Penke, L.; Tebartz Van Elst, L.; Bittner, R.; Schmidmeie,r R.; Frees, R.; Müller-Isberner, R.; Wiltfang, J.; Bliesener, T.; Bonn, S.; Müller, Jl.; Arias, B.; Ehrenreich, H. Violent aggression predicted by multiple pre-adult environmental hits Mol Psychiatry. 2018 May 24. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0043-3

Palma-Gudie,l H.; Cordova-Palomera, A.; Tornador, C.; Falcon, C.; ,Bargallo, N.; Deco, G.; Fañanás, L.

Increased methylation at an unexplored NR3C1 glucocorticoid responsive element is associated with anxious-depressive disorders and decreased hippocampal connectivity. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2018 May; 28(5):579-588. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2018.03.015

Córdova-Palomera, A.; Tornador, C.; Falcón, C.; Bargalló, N.; Crespo-Facorro, B.; Bambrilla, P.; Deco, G.; Fañanás, L. Environmental factors linked to depression vulnerability are associated with altered cerebellar resting-state synchronization. Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 28; 6:37384. doi: 10.1038/srep37384.

Palma-Gudiel H; Fañanás L. An integrative review of methylation at the serotonin transporter gene and its dialogue with environmental risk factors, psychopathology and 5-HTTLPR. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Jan; 72:190-209. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.11.011