Monday, April 7, 2008

Stress Linked to Ancestry

Stress Linked to Heritage

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, coping standards of individuals can be explained by inheritance variations of the molecule neuropeptide Y (NPY) [2].
It has long been known that NPY regulates anxiety responses in the brain, however, this experiment sort to determine if ‘genetic variants’ [2] encoding the protein contributed to the effectiveness of anxiety responses. “NPY is induced by stress and its release reduces anxiety” said David Goldman, chief of NIAA Laboratory of Neurogenetics, “we sought to determine if genetic variants of NPY might contribute to maladaptive stress responses” [2].
The research team found that genetic variations did in fact alter levels of NPY in the brain and stimulated different emotion responses. Via functional brain imaging, it was found that those who had low levels of NPY reacted higher to threatening images and muscular pain than those with high levels of NPY. This demonstrated the “close tie between emotionality and resilience to pain and other negative stimuli” [2]. It was also found that a low level NPY gene variant was more common among individuals with anxiety disorders.
These results could stimulate new research involving some of the consequences of inherited variation on other neuropeptide Y functions such as circadian rhythms, sexual function, vascular resistance and feeding behaviour [1].


[1] Bowen, R 16/03/1997 Neuropeptide Y Colorado State University, Colorado date viewed 05/04/2008

[2] Medical News Today 03/04/2008 Discovery of Genetic Factor In Stress Response Variability MediLexicon International Ltd, United Kingdom date viewed 05/04/2008


~gotmyphilosophy, 01/04/2005 Stress date viewed 05/04/2008

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