Large epigenome-wide association study identifies multiple novel differentially methylated CpG sites associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors in veterans

Introduction: The U.S. suicide mortality rate has steadily increased during the past two decades, particularly among military veterans; however, the epigenetic basis of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STB) remains largely unknown. Methods: To address this issue, we conducted an epigenome-wide association study of DNA methylation (DNAm) of peripheral blood samples obtained from 2,712 U.S. military veterans. Results: Three […]

Mediating effect of genome-wide DNA methylation on suicidal ideation induced by stressful events

Objective Schizophrenia is a debilitating disease that is associated with higher rates of death by unnatural causes including suicide. Exposure to stressful events is an important risk factor for suicidal ideation (SI); however, the mechanisms that link stress, SI, and suicide remain unclear. Epigenetic processes are involved in both vulnerability to suicidal behavior and stress. Therefore, we sought to study […]

DNA methylation of genes involved in the HPA axis in presence of suicide behavior: A systematic review

DNA methylation in genes of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis has been associated with suicide behavior. Through a systematic review, we aimed to evaluate DNA methylation levels of the genes involved in the HPA pathway and their association with suicide behavior. A search of articles was performed using PubMed and Science Direct, EBSCO. The terms included […]

Epigenetic changes in the CYP2D6 gene are related to severity of suicide attempt: A cross-sectional study of suicide attempters

Background The ability to accurately estimate risk of suicide deaths on an individual level remains elusive. Methods This study reports on a case-control study set-up from a well-characterized cohort of 88 predominantly female suicide attempters (SA), stratified into low- (n = 57) and high-risk groups (n = 31) based on reports of later death by suicide, as well as […]

Epigenetic marks in suicide: A review

Suicide is a complex phenomenon and a global public health problem that involves several biological factors that could contribute to the pathophysiology of suicide. There is evidence that epigenetic factors influence some psychiatric disorders, suggesting a predisposition to suicide or suicidal behavior. Here, we review studies of molecular mechanisms of suicide in an epigenetic perspective […]

An examination of genes, stress and suicidal behavior in two First Nations communities: The role of the brain-derived neurotropic factor gene

Suicide claims over 800,000 lives each year worldwide. Suicide rates in indigenous populations in Canada are about double that of the national average, making it a serious public health issue. Numerous factors are involved in suicide risk, including genetic factors, as well as various psychosocial stressors, such as historical experience with the Indian Residential School […]

Identification of novel genome-wide associations for suicidality in UK Biobank, genetic correlation with psychiatric disorders and polygenic association with complete suicide

Background: Suicide is a major issue for global public health. Suicidality describes a broad clinical spectrum of thoughts and behaviours, some of which are common in the general population. Methods: UK Biobank recruited ~0.5 million middle age individuals from the UK, of whom 157,000 completed an assessment of suicidality. Mutually exclusive groups were assessed in […]

Genome-wide significant regions in 43 Utah high-risk families implicate multiple genes involved in risk for completed suicide

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Although environment has undeniable impact, evidence suggests that genetic factors play a significant role in completed suicide. We linked a resource of ~ 4500 DNA samples from completed suicides obtained from the Utah Medical Examiner to genealogical records and medical records data available on […]

Stress in the educational system as a potential source of epigenetic influences on children’s development and behavior

Despite current advances on the relevance of environmental cues and epigenetic mechanisms in biological processes, including behavior, little attention has been paid to the potential link between epigenetic influences and educational sciences. For instance, could the learning environment and stress determine epigenetic marking, affecting students’ behavior development? Could this have consequences on educational outcomes? So […]

Epigenetics in suicide and depression

Underlying causes of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) remain an enigma. A major gain of uncovering mechanisms leading to this devastating disorder will be the prevention of suicide, the worst outcome of MDD. In the search to understand the neurobiology of MDD several promising hypotheses have been formulated. These hypotheses are largely focused on alterations in […]

Stress, genetics and epigenetic effects on the neurobiology of suicidal behavior and depression.

Alterations in a number of neurobiological systems have been associated with suicidal behavior including the serotonergic and noradrenergic systems and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Altered functioning of these systems may stem from both genetic and developmental causes. Adversity in early-life has developmental consequences on these systems that persist into adulthood. Genetic differences may also contribute to […]

Epigenetics and suicidal behavior research pathways.

Suicide and suicidal behaviors are complex, heterogeneous phenomena that are thought to result from the interactions among distal factors increasing predisposition and proximal factors acting as precipitants. Epigenetic factors are likely to act both distally and proximally. Aspirational Goal 1 aims to find clear targets for suicide and suicidal behavior intervention through greater understanding of […]

The role of epigenetics in depression and suicide: A platform for gene-environment interactions.

Epigenetics involves functional modifications of genes. The aim of this paper is to explore if an association exists between epigenetics and depression and/or suicide. MedLine/PubMed searches were performed using both Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) and Non-MeSH terms. Based on pre-specified terms and inclusion criteria, sixteen studies met inclusion criteria by the 3 independent reviewers. Epigenetic […]

Understanding epigenetic architecture of suicide neurobiology: A critical perspective.

Current understanding of environmental cross-talk with genetic makeup is found to be mediated through an epigenetic interface which is associated with prominent reversible and heritable changes at gene expression level. Recent emergence of epigenetic modulation in shaping the genetic information has become a key regulatory factor in answering the underlying complexities associated with several mental […]

Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse.

Maternal care influences hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function in the rat through epigenetic programming of glucocorticoid receptor expression. In humans, childhood abuse alters HPA stress responses and increases the risk of suicide. We examined epigenetic differences in a neuron-specific glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) promoter between postmortem hippocampus obtained from suicide victims with a history of childhood abuse and […]

Discovery and replication of a peripheral tissue DNA methylation biosignature to augment a suicide prediction model.

Background Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents in the USA, and rates are rising. Methods to identify individuals at risk are essential for implementing prevention strategies, and the development of a biomarker can potentially improve prediction of suicidal behaviors. Prediction of our previously reported SKA2 biomarker for suicide and PTSD is […]

A discordant monozygotic twin design shows blunted cortisol reactivity among bullied chidlren.

Objective Childhood adverse experiences are known to engender persistent changes in stress-related systems and brain structures involved in mood, cognition, and behavior in animal models. Uncertainty remains about the causal effect of early stressful experiences on physiological response to stress in human beings, as the impact of these experiences has rarely been investigated while controlling […]

Suicide and intergenerational transmission of trauma.

The effects of unresolved trauma can be carried across generations through different pathways. The psychological, social and physiological levels (including changes at the epigenetic level) are always interacting. This workshop will concentrate on the psychological level, with a focus on how individual development, conjugal relationships and family dynamics can be burdened by the consequences of […]

Influence of interactions between genes and childhood trauma on refractoriness in psychiatric disorders.


Increased DNA methylation in the suicide brain.


Reversal of maternal programming of stress responses in adult offspring through methyl supplementation: Altering epigenetic marking later in life.

Stress responses in the adult rat are programmed early in life by maternal care and associated with epigenomic marking. These results demonstrate that, despite the inherent stability of the epigenomic marks established early in life through behavioral programming, they are potentially reversible in the adult brain. Contact us for a copy of this article, or […]

Recognizing resilience: Learning from the effects of stress on the brain.

As the central organ of stress and adaptation to stressors, the brain plays a pivotal role in behavioral and physiological responses that may lead to successful adaptation or to pathophysiology and mental and physical disease. In this context, resilience can be defined as Òachieving a positive outcome in the face of adversityÓ. Brain architecture continues […]

Effects of prenatal and postnatal depression, and maternal stroking, at the glucocorticoid receptor gene.