Prédicteurs génétiques et psychosociaux de l'accélération de l'âge épigénétique: signification clinique et l'impact sur l'utilisation des services de santé pour les troubles mentaux liés au stress


Xiangfei Meng

Centre de recherche de l'IUSM Douglas


Domaine :  santé des populations

Programme chercheurs-boursiers  - Junior 1

Concours 2017-2018

Stress related mental disorders are the "common cold" of mental illnesses. Individuals with these diseases have physical impairment, more days in bed due to illness, more workdays lost, increased impairment at work, and high use of health services. Childhood adversity and other stress factors influences both the disease course and treatment outcome for these diseases. There is a significant variation in illness severity and chronicity among individuals with very severe early life stress. The basis of this variation likely involves the interplay between the genome and the environment.

Epigenetic modifications may explain how the social environment regulates genomic function and neural development. Recently, the ‘epigenetic clock' is recognized as a marker of biological aging across many different tissues. Epigenetic age acceleration is the difference between chronological and epigenetic age. It links with a variety of health conditions characterised by advanced cellular aging. There has been no study conducted to evaluate the clinical significance of epigenetic age acceleration for the onset and severity of stress related mental disorders. Moreover, the genetic and environmental contributions to epigenetic age acceleration are not well understood. A sensitive risk index of these diseases will help identify vulnerable individuals and target appropriate prevention programs to individuals at risk of these disorders.

We aim to: 1) build a biological bank for a CIHR-funded cohort, 2) determine the relationships between the cumulative risk of genetic and psychosocial factors for epigenetic age acceleration and the onset, severity and chronicity of stress related mental disorders, by using the CIHR cohort and four additional cohorts (N=5,471); 3) establish a cumulative risk index of stress related mental disorders using psychosocial, genetic and epigenetic indicators; and, 4) explore the association between the risk index and the impact on health services and medication use.