Jump to content

Pubmed-Epigenetic mechanisms underlying stress-induced visceral pain: Resilience versus vulnerability in a two-hit model of early life stress and chronic adult stress

Health Reporter

Recommended Posts

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2023 Mar 9:e14558. doi: 10.1111/nmo.14558. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Women with a history of early life stress (ELS) have a higher risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In addition, chronic stress in adulthood can exacerbate IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain due to visceral hypersensitivity. We previously showed that sex and the predictability of ELS determine whether rats develop visceral hypersensitivity in adulthood. In female rats, unpredictable ELS confers vulnerability and results in visceral hypersensitivity, whereas predictable ELS induces resilience and does not induce visceral hypersensitivity in adulthood. However, this resilience is lost after exposure to chronic stress in adulthood leading to an exacerbation of visceral hypersensitivity. Evidence suggests that changes in histone acetylation at the promoter regions of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) underlie stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of histone acetylation in the CeA on visceral hypersensitivity in a two-hit model of ELS followed by chronic stress in adulthood.

METHODS: Male and female neonatal rats were exposed to unpredictable, predictable ELS, or odor only (no stress control) from postnatal days 8 to 12. In adulthood, rats underwent stereotaxic implantation of indwelling cannulas. Rats were exposed to chronic water avoidance stress (WAS, 1 h/day for 7 days) or SHAM stress and received infusions of vehicle, the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) or the histone acetyltransferase inhibitor garcinol (GAR) after each WAS session. 24 h after the final infusion, visceral sensitivity was assessed and the CeA was removed for molecular experiments.

RESULTS: In the two-hit model (ELS + WAS), female rats previously exposed to predictable ELS, showed a significant reduction in histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9) acetylation at the GR promoter and a significant increase in H3K9 acetylation at the CRF promoter. These epigenetic changes were associated with changes in GR and CRF mRNA expression in the CeA and an exacerbation of stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity in female animals. TSA infusions in the CeA attenuated the exacerbated stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity, whereas GAR infusions only partially ameliorated ELS+WAS induced visceral hypersensitivity.

CONCLUSION: The two-hit model of ELS followed by WAS in adulthood revealed that epigenetic dysregulation occurs after exposure to stress in two important periods of life and contributes to the development of visceral hypersensitivity. These aberrant underlying epigenetic changes may explain the exacerbation of stress-induced abdominal pain in IBS patients.

PMID:36893055 | DOI:10.1111/nmo.14558

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...