Abstract # 13445 Poster # 86:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Alumni Lounge) Poster Presentation


A. Baxter1,2, J. P. Capitanio1,2 and E. L. Kinnally1,2
1University of California, Davis, Psychology Department, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95618, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center
     Epigenetics is a key factor in individual differences in emotional and physiological response, particularly during early development. We investigated whether the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress-response was associated with epigenome-wide blood DNA methylation patterns in 154 infant rhesus monkeys (3-4 months old). Infants’ behavioral and physiological responses were collected during a temporary separation from their mother and social group. Species-typical behaviors were recorded ~15-minutes post-separation and factor analysis revealed two factors (Emotionality and Activity). Cortisol was assayed from dexamethasone-treated animals sampled ~23-hours post-separation, and whole-genome DNA methylation was quantified using restricted representation bisulfite sequencing from blood collected 2-hours post-separation. Regression analyses corrected for False Discovery Rate revealed that methylation differences were strongly linked with Emotionality (8,330 sites, p < .00027) and cortisol output (10,121 sites p < .00033), but not Activity (0 sites). For Emotionality, significantly overrepresented biological pathways included glutamate receptor signaling, integrin signaling, and amyloid plaque formation. For cortisol, pathways included acetylcholine receptor signaling, oxytocin receptor signaling, andrenoceptor signaling, and amyloid plaque secretase. We conclude that emotionality and cortisol output during stress may correlate with the developing epigenome, and that methylation may be a mechanism by which early experience has long-term effects on behavior. This research was supported by CNPRC base grant (P51OD011107), NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant 1S10OD010786-01 (to UCDGC), R21HD009799 (to ELK), R03 HD069600 (to ELK), R24 OD010962 (to JPC).