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Mol.Phys:压力可致儿童端粒缩短

来源:《分子精神病学》 2011-05-20 14:49

一项来自罗马尼亚孤儿院的长期研究表明,人类在儿童期承受的压力可随着他们的成长在DNA中体现出来。

近日发表在《分子精神病学》(Molecular Psychiatry)杂志上的一篇文章中,研究人员称他们发现相比于得到正常照顾的儿童,那些在孤儿院度过童年的罗马尼亚儿童的端粒较短。众所周知,在我们的染色体上有一个帽子,它的名字叫端粒(telomere)。它的作用是保持染色体的完整性。随着细胞不断地分裂,DNA每复制一次,端粒就会缩短一点。此外,研究证实压力也可引起端粒缩短从而导致例如糖尿病、老年性痴呆症等多种疾病发生。

人类端粒DNA的四连体结构

这一研究是由美国科研人员2000年在布加勒斯特(罗马尼亚首都)启动的的一个早期干预研究项目的一部分,旨在比较在压力环境下成长的孤儿与收养的儿童(他们能获得更好的个人关注及高质量的照顾)在健康和发育上的差异。

在研究开始之初,孤儿院在罗马尼亚非常的普遍,收养制度是当时为这一研究项目而特别建立的。这项研究集中追踪了年龄在6-30个月的136名罗马尼亚孤儿,他们被随机分配到收养家庭中。其余的孤儿仍旧生活在孤儿院。

当这些孩子成长至6岁到10岁时,研究人员获取了他们的DNA样本,并测量了他们端粒的长度。他们发现在孤儿院度过童年时间越长的儿童端粒长度越短。

 

“这表明公共机构的照顾可在分子水平上对儿童造成影响,”研究的负责人之一、美国杜兰大学临床心理学家Stacy Drury说

过去曾有一些研究发现在童年经历过心理压力的成人端粒长度缩短,针对儿童开展端粒生物学研究仍是一个新兴的领域。研究小组称这一研究表明如果能将公共机构照顾的孩子们转至正常的家庭环境中将从多方面改善他们的健康。

“压力本身是很难界定的。这些研究数据告诉我们端粒长度或许可作为我们称之为负面经历累积的一个基本生物标记。”Drury说。(生物谷Bioon.com)

生物谷推荐原文出处:

Molecular Psychiatry     DOI:10.1038/mp.2011.53

Telomere length and early severe social deprivation: linking early adversity and cellular aging

S S Drury, K Theall, M M Gleason, A T Smyke, I De Vivo, J Y Y Wong, N A Fox, C H Zeanah, C A Nelson

Accelerated telomere length attrition has been associated with psychological stress and early adversity in adults; however, no studies have examined whether telomere length in childhood is associated with early experiences. The Bucharest Early Intervention Project is a unique randomized controlled trial of foster care placement compared with continued care in institutions. As a result of the study design, participants were exposed to a quantified range of time in institutional care, and represented an ideal population in which to examine the association between a specific early adversity, institutional care and telomere length. We examined the association between average relative telomere length, telomere repeat copy number to single gene copy number (T/S) ratio and exposure to institutional care quantified as the percent of time at baseline (mean age 22 months) and at 54 months of age that each child lived in the institution. A significant negative correlation between T/S ratio and percentage of time was observed. Children with greater exposure to institutional care had significantly shorter relative telomere length in middle childhood. Gender modified this main effect. The percentage of time in institutional care at baseline significantly predicted telomere length in females, whereas the percentage of institutional care at 54 months was strongly predictive of telomere length in males. This is the first study to demonstrate an association between telomere length and institutionalization, the first study to find an association between adversity and telomere length in children, and contributes to the growing literature linking telomere length and early adversity.

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