Epigenetic signatures may explain the relationship between socioeconomic position and risk of mental illness: Preliminary findings from an urban community-based sample

Monica Uddin, Sandro Galea, Shun Chiao Chang, Karestan C. Koenen, Emily Goldmann, Derek E. Wildman, Allison E. Aiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Low socioeconomic position (SEP) has previously been linked to a number of negative health indicators, including poor mental health. The biologic mechanisms linking SEP and mental health remain poorly understood. Recent work suggests that social exposures influence DNA methylation in a manner salient to mental health. We conducted a pilot investigation to assess whether SEP, measured as educational attainment, modifies the association between genomic methylation profiles and traumatic stress in a trauma-exposed sample. Results show that methylation × SEP interactions occur preferentially in genes pertaining to nervous system function, suggesting a plausible biological pathway by which SEP may enhance sensitivity to stress and, in turn, risk of posttraumatic stress disorder.[Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Biodemography and Social Biology for the following free supplemental resource: Supplementary tables of full model and functional annotation clustering results.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-84
Number of pages17
JournalBiodemography and Social Biology
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics

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