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De Punder 2022 Abstract Bioblast

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De Punder Karin
De Punder Karin, Karabatsiakis A, Martens DS, Heim C, Entringer S (2022) Early life stress and perceived chronic stress are associated with increased immune cell mitochondrial DNA copy number in healthy individuals.
Bioblast 2022: BEC Inaugural Conference. In:

Link: Bioblast 2022: BEC Inaugural Conference

De Punder Karin, Karabatsiakis Alexander, Martens Dries S, Heim Christine, Entringer Sonja (2022)

Event: Bioblast 2022

Exposure to various forms of psychological stress represents a potent risk factor for the development and progression of a wide range of age-related physical and mental disorders. Evidence suggests that alterations in mitochondrial function might underly this risk since mitochondria represent a key site of sensing biological stress signals and have been associated with a number of age-related diseases. Mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn) is considered a biomarker of mitochondrial biogenesis and function, however, only limited empirical data is available on the effect of psychological stress conditions, like early life stress and chronic stress, on mtDNAcn variation. In the present study, blood samples were drawn from 24 healthy men and women. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were isolated from whole blood and relative mtDNA content was estimated using a quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) method. Early life stress exposure was measured using the Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire (ACE) and chronic perceived stress was assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale. Our results indicated that individuals that were exposed to childhood adversity displayed higher PBMC mtDNAcn compared to non-exposed individuals (t (22) = -2.2, p = 0.04). In addition, we observed that individuals that perceived high stress levels showed increased PBMC mtDNAcn compared to individuals perceiving low stress levels (F = 4.37, p = 0.03). It might be concluded that the observed changes in PBMC mtDNAcn reflect an adaptation of mitochondria to psychological stress.

Keywords: Mitochondrial DNA copy number, Early life stress, Chronic stress Bioblast editor: Plangger M


Karin de Punder1,2, Alexander Karabatsiakis2, Dries S Martens3, Christine Heim1,4, Sonja Entringer1,5,6
  1. Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Institute of Medical Psychology, Berlin, Germany
  2. Institute of Psychology, Department of Clinical psychology-II, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  3. Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium
  4. Department of Biobehavioral Health, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, USA
  5. Department of Pediatrics and 6Development, Health and Disease Research Program, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

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