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Childhood maltreatment and DNA methylation: a systematic review

Childhood maltreatment and DNA methylation: a systematic review
Childhood maltreatment and DNA methylation: a systematic review
DNA methylation (DNAm), an epigenetic process that regulates gene expression, may represent a mechanism for the biological embedding of early traumatic experiences, including childhood maltreatment. Here, we conducted the first systematic review of evidence from studies in humans regarding the association between childhood maltreatment and DNAm. In total, 73 studies were included in the review (2008-2018). The majority of extant studies (i) were based on retrospective data in adults, (ii) employed a candidate gene approach (iii) focused on global maltreatment, (iv) were based on easily accessible peripheral tissues, typically blood; and (v) were cross-sectional. Two-thirds of studies (n=48) also examined individual outcomes, such as stress reactivity and psychiatric symptoms. While findings generally support an association between childhood maltreatment and altered patterns of DNAm, factors such as the dearth of longitudinal data, low comparability across studies as well as potential genetic and ‘pre-exposure’ environmental confounding currently limit the conclusions that can be drawn. Key challenges are discussed and concrete recommendations for future research are provided.
Abuse, Child maltreatment, DNA methylation, Epigenetic, Neglect
0149-7634
392-409
Cecil, Charlotte
04bdc6dd-3ebe-43bf-a87d-d61ae5e94324
Zhang, Yuning
d04a3a32-daa7-4441-8bdf-9bbaeb44583f
Nolte, Tobias
da8570f4-d540-4d59-94d0-fbab621eeeb8
Cecil, Charlotte
04bdc6dd-3ebe-43bf-a87d-d61ae5e94324
Zhang, Yuning
d04a3a32-daa7-4441-8bdf-9bbaeb44583f
Nolte, Tobias
da8570f4-d540-4d59-94d0-fbab621eeeb8

Cecil, Charlotte, Zhang, Yuning and Nolte, Tobias (2020) Childhood maltreatment and DNA methylation: a systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 112, 392-409. (doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.02.019).

Record type: Article

Abstract

DNA methylation (DNAm), an epigenetic process that regulates gene expression, may represent a mechanism for the biological embedding of early traumatic experiences, including childhood maltreatment. Here, we conducted the first systematic review of evidence from studies in humans regarding the association between childhood maltreatment and DNAm. In total, 73 studies were included in the review (2008-2018). The majority of extant studies (i) were based on retrospective data in adults, (ii) employed a candidate gene approach (iii) focused on global maltreatment, (iv) were based on easily accessible peripheral tissues, typically blood; and (v) were cross-sectional. Two-thirds of studies (n=48) also examined individual outcomes, such as stress reactivity and psychiatric symptoms. While findings generally support an association between childhood maltreatment and altered patterns of DNAm, factors such as the dearth of longitudinal data, low comparability across studies as well as potential genetic and ‘pre-exposure’ environmental confounding currently limit the conclusions that can be drawn. Key challenges are discussed and concrete recommendations for future research are provided.

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Accepted/In Press date: 15 February 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 February 2020
Published date: May 2020
Keywords: Abuse, Child maltreatment, DNA methylation, Epigenetic, Neglect

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 438552
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/438552
ISSN: 0149-7634
PURE UUID: 1a1d0a91-a1c8-452c-a840-07d643b37eae
ORCID for Yuning Zhang: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2225-6368

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Date deposited: 16 Mar 2020 17:35
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:29

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Contributors

Author: Charlotte Cecil
Author: Yuning Zhang ORCID iD
Author: Tobias Nolte

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