View Full Version : Holocaust exposure induced intergenerational effects on FKBP5 methylation

08-24-2015, 04:20 PM
In the journal of Biological Psychiatry, the full article is behind a paywall...


The involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in intergenerational transmission of stress effects has been demonstrated in animals but not in humans.

Cytosine methylation within the gene encoding for FK506-binding-protein-5 (FKBP5) was measured in Holocaust survivors (n=32), their adult offspring (n=22), and respective demographically comparable parent (n=8) - offspring (n=9) controls. Cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) sites for analysis were chosen based on their spatial proximity to the intron 7 glucocorticoid-response-elements (GREs).

Holocaust exposure had an effect on FKBP5 methylation that was observed in exposed parents (F0) as well in their offspring (F1). These effects were observed at bin 3/site 6. Interestingly, in Holocaust survivors, methylation at this site was higher in comparison to controls, whereas in Holocaust offspring, methylation was lower. F0 and F1 methylation levels were significantly correlated. In contrast to the findings at bin 3/site 6, offspring methylation at bin 2/sites 3-5 associated with childhood physical and sexual abuse in interaction with an FKBP5 risk-allele, previously associated with vulnerability to psychological consequences of childhood adversity. The findings suggest the possibility of site-specificity to environmental influences, as sites in bins 3 and 2 were differentially associated with parental trauma and the offspring’s own childhood trauma, respectively. FKBP5 methylation averaged across the three bins examined, associated with wake-up cortisol levels, indicating functional relevance of the methylation measures.

This is the first demonstration of transmission of pre-conception parental trauma to child associated with epigenetic changes in both generations, providing a potential insight into how severe psychological trauma can have intergenerational effects.

08-24-2015, 05:52 PM
Interesting, thank you for sharing.

However, I'm am pretty sure that using the Holocaust to exemplify this genetic study is going to bring some political discussions. Some will likely see this as a manipulated research intended to maintain the war reparations going even after the last holocaust survivors passed away.

I am not saying that I agree with that, I am just saying that the sheer science behind the research could be seen with skeptic eyes, which would be a pity.

08-24-2015, 06:12 PM
Saw this with regards to that study:

I do think epigenetics can explain allot, but I want more research on it before I make up an opinion..

08-24-2015, 09:28 PM
I am certainly not an expert on either biology or psychology, but this puts me in mind of a sort of biological side to Jung's idea of the Collective Unconscious.