FKBP5 DNA methylation does not mediate the association between childhood maltreatment and depression symptom severity in the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study.
ABSTRACT: Exposure to childhood maltreatment increases the risk of developing mental illness later in life. Childhood maltreatment and depression have both been associated with dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis-a key regulator of the body's stress response. Additionally, HPA axis dysregulation has been implicated in the etiology of a range of mental illnesses. A substantial body of work has shown history of childhood maltreatment alters DNA methylation levels within key HPA axis genes. We therefore investigated whether one of these key genes, FKBP5 mediates the relationship between childhood maltreatment and depression, and assessed FKBP5 DNA methylation and gene expression within 112 adults from the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study (DNHS). DNA methylation was assessed in 4 regions, including the upstream promoter, downstream promoter, and two glucocorticoid response elements (GREs) via pyrosequencing using whole blood derived DNA; Taqman assays measured relative RNA expression from leukocytes. Mediation analyses were conducted using sequential linear regression. Childhood maltreatment was significantly associated with depression symptom severity (FDR < 0.006), but was not a significant predictor of DNA methylation in any of the four loci examined. FKBP5 showed elevated expression levels in participants with vs. without a history of depression (p < 0.001); no significant difference in gene expression levels was observed in relation to childhood maltreatment (p > 0.05). Our results suggest DNA methylation does not mediate the childhood maltreatment-depression association in the DNHS.
Project description:DNA methylation of the FKBP5 gene is assumed to alter FKBP5 expression and hence the synthesis of the FK506 binding protein 51, a central element of a genomic negative feedback loop for glucocorticoid receptor signaling. The present study aimed to replicate and extend previously reported influences of FKBP5 genotypes, childhood maltreatment and depression on methylation levels of five CpG sites in intron 7 of the FKBP5 gene in a large population-based sample. Besides the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1360780, associations of the FKBP5 methylation with 22 other, unlinked FKBP5 SNPs as well as associations between FKBP5 methylation levels and transcription levels were investigated. Using whole-blood methylation of 3965 subjects of the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP) reduced methylation levels in TT allele carriers of rs1360780 (OR?=?0.975, p?=?.005) and currently depressed subjects (OR?=?0.995, p?=?0.005) were found. Further, an impact of two yet undescribed SNPs (rs6910300, rs7771727) on methylation levels was observed. However, main and interactive effects for childhood maltreatment and lifetime major depressive disorder observed in previous studies could not be replicated. Finally, FKBP5 methylation levels were not related to FKBP5 transcription levels in whole blood. Thus, the present study verified the associations of FKBP5 genotypes and state depression on the FKBP5 methylation levels of five CpG sites in intron 7. However, FKBP5 methylation of these five CpG sites could not be validated as a valuable clinical biomarker for biological long-term effects of childhood maltreatment or lifetime depression.
Project description:Abstract Background: Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation is a proposed etiological mechanism of psychosis. Recent studies highlighted impact of the FKBP5 gene and its functional variant rs1360780, which risk (T) allele affects the activity of HPA axis following stress exposure, on psychotic patients exposed to early trauma (1). Additionally, risk allele and trauma dependent FKBP5 demethylation in intron 7 was observed in traumatized individuals (2). Thus, the purpose of this pilot study was to investigate influence of the risk allele and trauma on FKBP5 DNA methylation levels at intron 7 in psychotic patients and to compare it with healthy individuals. Methods: The sample consisted of 24 psychosis spectrum patients and 24 controls matched by age and gender. All participants were genotyped for rs1360780 and divided into 2 groups depending on the presence of the risk allele (risk and nonrisk group). DNA methylation levels at 3 CpG sites (CpG1, CpG2, and CpG3) in intron 7 were analyzed by Sanger sequencing. Early-life adversities were measured by Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Pearson correlation and t test were performed as appropriate. Results: Analyses revealed decreased FKBP5 methylation at targeted CpG sites and averaged methylation level (AML) at intron 7 in patients compared to controls (P = .026, P = .017, P = .027, and P = .003, respectively). Decreased AML and methylation at CpG3 were observed comparing risk and nonrisk patients’ groups (P = .018 and P = .016, respectively). Additionally, decreased methylation was found in risk patients’ group compared to risk controls’ group. No differences were found comparing nonrisk groups. Furthermore, strong negative associations between trauma and methylation at CpG3 and AML were observed only in risk controls’ group (r = ?0.707, P = .007; r = ?0.741, P = .004, respectively). Conclusion: Our preliminary results revealed allele-specific epigenetic changes of the FKBP5 gene in psychotic patients, which is in line with previous reports in traumatized individuals. Trauma-related demethylation in risk controls’ group supports the hypothesis that psychotic and stress-related conditions could share common neurobiological underlying mechanism, such as HPA axis dysregulation, particularly in individuals with genetic predisposition for altered stress response. References 1.Daskalakis NP, Binder EB. Schizophrenia in the spectrum of gene-stress interactions: the FKBP5 example. Schizophr Bull. 2015;41:323–329. 2.Klengel T, Mehta D, Anacker C et al. Allele-specific FKBP5 DNA demethylation mediates gene-childhood trauma interactions. Nat Neurosci. 2013;16:33–41.
Project description:Glucocorticoids may play a significant role in the etiology of neuropsychiatric illnesses. Abnormalities in plasma cortisol levels, glucocorticoid sensitivity, and HPA-axis function often accompany clinical symptoms of stress-related illnesses such as PTSD and depression. Of particular interest are genetic association studies that link single nucleotide polymorphisms of HPA-axis genes with illnesses only in the context of an early-life trauma exposure such as child abuse. These studies suggest that dysregulation of HPA-axis function can have lasting repercussions in shaping mood and anxiety, long after termination of the traumatic experience. As persistent glucocorticoid-induced loss of DNA methylation in FK506 binding protein 5 (Fkbp5) was previously observed in the hippocampus and blood and in the neuronal cell line HT-22, we asked whether these epigenetic alterations occur in non-neuronal, HPA-axis relevant cells. We used the pituitary adenoma cell line AtT-20 to demonstrate that the intronic enhancer region of Fkbp5 undergoes loss of DNA methylation in response to dexamethasone treatment in a dose-dependent manner. We also focused on the mouse hippocampal dentate gyrus to test whether these changes would be enriched in a region implicated in the HPA-axis stress response, neurogenesis, and synaptic plasticity. We observed an increase in enrichment of DNA methylation loss in the dentate gyrus, as compared to whole hippocampal tissues that were similarly treated with glucocorticoids. We then asked whether DNA methyltransferase 1 (Dnmt1), a methyltransferase enzyme involved in maintaining DNA methylation following cell division, is involved in the observed epigenetic alterations. We found a dose-dependent decrease of Dnmt1 expression in the AtT-20 cells following dexamethasone treatment, and a similar decrease in corticosterone-treated mouse hippocampus. Taken together, we provide evidence that these glucocorticoid-induced epigenetic alterations have a broader validity in non-neuronal cells and that they may involve the DNA methylation machinery.
Project description:Utilizing a large (N = 739), ancestrally homogenous sample, the current study aimed to better understand biological risk processes involved in the development of depressive symptoms in maltreated, African American children age 8-12 years. Maltreatment was independently coded from Child Protective Services records and maternal report. Self-reported depressive symptoms were attained in the context of a week-long, summer research camp. DNA was acquired from buccal cell or saliva samples and genotyped for nine polymorphisms in four hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis-related genes: FKBP5, NR3C1, NR3C2, and CRHR1. Salivary cortisol samples were collected each morning (9 a.m.) and late afternoon (4 p.m.) throughout the week to assess HPA functioning. Results revealed that experiences of maltreatment beginning prior to age 5 were most predictive of depressive symptoms, whereas maltreatment onset after age 5 was most predictive of HPA axis dysregulation (blunted daytime cortisol patterns). Multigenic risk did not relate to HPA functioning, nor did it moderate the relationship between maltreatment and HPA activity. There was no mediation of the relationship between maltreatment and depressive symptoms by HPA dysfunction. Results are interpreted through a developmental psychopathology lens, emphasizing the principle of equifinality while carefully appraising racial differences. Implications for future research, particularly the need for longitudinal studies, and important methodological considerations are discussed.
Project description:DNA methylation shifts in Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis related genes is reported in psychiatric disorders including hypersexual disorder. This study, comprising 20 dexamethasone suppression test (DST) non-suppressors and 73 controls, examined the association between the HPA axis dysregulation, shifts in DNA methylation of HPA axis related genes and importantly, gene expression. Individuals with cortisol level ≥ 138 nmol/l, after the low dose (0.5 mg) dexamethasone suppression test (DST) were classified as non-suppressors. Genome-wide methylation pattern, measured in whole blood using the EPIC BeadChip, investigated CpG sites located within 2000 bp of the transcriptional start site of key HPA axis genes, i.e.: CRH, CRHBP, CRHR-1, CRHR-2, FKBP5 and NR3C1. Regression models including DNA methylation M-values and the binary outcome (DST non-suppression status) were performed. Gene transcripts with an abundance of differentially methylated CpG sites were identified with binomial tests. Pearson correlations and robust linear regressions were performed between CpG methylation and gene expression in two independent cohorts. Six of 76 CpG sites were significantly hypermethylated in DST non-suppressors (nominal P < 0.05), associated with genes CRH, CRHR1, CRHR2, FKBP5 and NR3C1. NR3C1 transcript AJ877169 showed statistically significant abundance of probes differentially methylated by DST non-suppression status and correlated with DST cortisol levels. Further, methylation levels of cg07733851 and cg27122725 were positively correlated with gene expression levels of the NR3C1 gene. Methylation levels of cg08636224 (FKBP5) correlated with baseline cortisol and gene expression. Our findings revealed that DNA methylation shifts are involved in the altered mechanism of the HPA axis suggesting that new epigenetic targets should be considered behind psychiatric disorders.
Project description:Childhood maltreatment, through epigenetic modification of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1), influences the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). We investigated whether childhood maltreatment and its severity were associated with increased methylation of the exon 1(F) NR3C1 promoter, in 101 borderline personality disorder (BPD) and 99 major depressive disorder (MDD) subjects with, respectively, a high and low rate of childhood maltreatment, and 15 MDD subjects with comorbid post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Childhood sexual abuse, its severity and the number of type of maltreatments positively correlated with NR3C1 methylation (P=6.16 × 10(-8), 5.18 × 10(-7) and 1.25 × 10(-9), respectively). In BPD, repetition of abuses and sexual abuse with penetration correlated with a higher methylation percentage. Peripheral blood might therefore serve as a proxy for environmental effects on epigenetic processes. These findings suggest that early life events may permanently impact on the HPA axis though epigenetic modifications of the NR3C1. This is a mechanism by which childhood maltreatment may lead to adulthood psychopathology.
Project description:FK506 binding protein 5 (FKBP5) alters stress response system functioning, and childhood maltreatment is associated with methylation of the FKBP5 gene. Yet it is unknown if maltreatment contributes to change in FKBP5 methylation over time. The current study draws upon a sample of 231 preschoolers, including 123 with child welfare documentation of moderate to severe maltreatment in the past 6 months, to understand if maltreatment contributes to change in FKBP5 methylation over a 6-month period. Review of child protection records and semistructured interviews in the home were used to assess maltreatment and exposure to other contextual stressors, as well as service utilization. Methylation of FKBP5 at two CpG sites in intron 7 was measured from saliva DNA at the time of initial study enrollment, and 6 months following enrollment. Child maltreatment was associated with change in FKBP5 methylation over time, but only when children were exposed to high levels of other contextual stressors. Service utilization was associated with increases in methylation over time, but only among children with the FKPB5 rs1360780 protective CC genotype. Methylation of FKBP5 is sensitive to stress exposure and may be a mechanism linking early adversity to long-term health and developmental outcomes.
Project description:Early life stress (ELS) adversely affects the brain and is commonly associated with the etiology of mental health disorders, like depression. In addition to the mood-related symptoms, patients with depression show dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, increased peripheral inflammation, and structural brain alterations. Although the underlying causes are unknown, polymorphisms in the FK506-binding protein 5 (FKBP5) gene, a regulator of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) activity, interact with childhood adversities to increase vulnerability to depressive disorders. We hypothesized that high FKBP5 protein levels combined with early life stress (ELS) would alter the HPA axis and brain, promoting depressive-like behaviors. To test this, we exposed males and females of a mouse model overexpressing FKBP5 in the brain (rTgFKBP5 mice), or littermate controls, to maternal separation for 14 days after birth. Then, we evaluated neuroendocrine, behavioral, and brain changes in young adult and aged mice. We observed lower basal corticosterone (CORT) levels in rTgFKBP5 mice, which was exacerbated in females. Aged, but not young, rTgFKBP5 mice showed increased depressive-like behaviors. Moreover, FKBP5 overexpression reduced hippocampal neuron density in aged mice, while promoting markers of microglia expression, but these effects were reversed by ELS. Together, these results demonstrate that high FKBP5 affects basal CORT levels, depressive-like symptoms, and numbers of neurons and microglia in the hippocampus in an age-dependent manner.
Project description:Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation has been associated with altered immune function, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unclear. Epigenetic processes, including DNA methylation, respond to the glucocorticoid end-products of the HPA axis (cortisol in humans) and could be involved in this neuroendocrine-immune crosstalk. Here we examined the extent to which variations in HPA axis regulation are associated with peripheral blood DNA (CpG) methylation changes in 57 chronically stressed caregivers and 67 control women. DNA methylation was determined with the Illumina 450k array for a panel of genes involved in HPA axis and immune function. HPA axis feedback was assessed with the low-dose dexamethasone suppression test (DST), measuring the extent to which cortisol secretion is suppressed by the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone. After multiple testing correction in the entire cohort, higher post-DST cortisol, reflecting blunted HPA axis negative feedback, but not baseline waking cortisol, was associated with lower DNA methylation at eight TNF and two FKBP5 CpG sites. Caregiver group status was associated with lower methylation at two IL6 CpG sites. Since associations were most robust with TNF methylation (32% of the 450k-covered sites), we further examined functionality of this epigenetic signature in cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells in 33 participants; intriguingly, lower TNF methylation resulted in higher ex vivo TNF mRNA following immune stimulation. Taken together, our findings link chronic stress and HPA axis regulation with epigenetic signatures at immune-related genes, thereby providing novel insights into how aberrant HPA axis function may contribute to heightened inflammation and disease risk.
Project description:Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning has been implicated in the development of stress-related psychiatric diagnoses and response to adverse life experiences. This study aimed to investigate the association between genetic and epigenetics in HPA axis and response to cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).Children with anxiety disorders were recruited into the Genes for Treatment project (GxT, N = 1,152). Polymorphisms of FKBP5 and GR were analyzed for association with response to CBT. Percentage DNA methylation at the FKBP5 and GR promoter regions was measured before and after CBT in a subset (n = 98). Linear mixed effect models were used to investigate the relationship between genotype, DNA methylation, and change in primary anxiety disorder severity (treatment response).Treatment response was not associated with FKBP5 and GR polymorphisms, or pretreatment percentage DNA methylation. However, change in FKBP5 DNA methylation was nominally significantly associated with treatment response. Participants who demonstrated the greatest reduction in severity decreased in percentage DNA methylation during treatment, whereas those with little/no reduction in severity increased in percentage DNA methylation. This effect was driven by those with one or more FKBP5 risk alleles, with no association seen in those with no FKBP5 risk alleles. No significant association was found between GR methylation and response.Allele-specific change in FKBP5 methylation was associated with treatment response. This is the largest study to date investigating the role of HPA axis related genes in response to a psychological therapy. Furthermore, this is the first study to demonstrate that DNA methylation changes may be associated with response to psychological therapies in a genotype-dependent manner.