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Who’s your daddy? Behavioral and epigenetic consequences of paternal drug exposure

Affiliation

  • 1 University of Houston, Department of Psychology & Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics (TIMES), Houston, TX, 77204-6022, United States.
  • PMID: 31301337
  • PMCID: PMC7448378
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2019.07.002

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Who’s your daddy? Behavioral and epigenetic consequences of paternal drug exposure

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Authors

Affiliation

  • 1 University of Houston, Department of Psychology & Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics (TIMES), Houston, TX, 77204-6022, United States.
  • PMID: 31301337
  • PMCID: PMC7448378
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2019.07.002

Abstract

Substance use disorders (SUDs) reflect genetic and environmental factors. While identifying reliable genetic variants that predispose individuals to developing SUDs has been challenging, epigenetic factors may also contribute to the heritability of SUDs. Familial drug use associates with a wide range of problems in children, including an increased risk for developing a SUD. The implications of maternal drug use on offspring development are a well-studied area; however, paternal drug use prior to conception has received relatively little attention. Paternal exposure to several environmental stimuli (i.e. stress or diet manipulations) results in behavioral and epigenetic changes in offspring. The purpose of this review is to determine the state of the preclinical literature on the behavioral and epigenetic consequences of paternal drug exposure. Drug-sired offspring show several developmental and physiological abnormalities. These offspring also show deficits in cognitive and emotional domains. Examining sensitivity to drugs in offspring is a growing area of research. Drug-sired offspring are resistant to the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs. However, greater paternal motivation for the drug, combined with high drug intake, can result in addiction-like behaviors in offspring. Drug-sired offspring also show altered histone modifications and DNA methylation levels of imprinted genes and microRNAs; epigenetic-mediated changes were also noted in genes related to glutamatergic and neurotrophic factor signaling. In some instances, drug use resulted in aberrant epigenetic modifications in sire sperm, and these changes were maintained in the brains of offspring. Thus, paternal drug exposure has long-lasting consequences that include altered drug sensitivity in subsequent generations. We discuss factors (i.e. maternal behaviors) that may moderate these paternal drug-induced effects as well as ideas for future directions.

Keywords: Chromatin remodeling; DNA methylation; Heritability; Non-Coding RNAs; Substance use disorders.

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Substance use disorders (SUDs) reflect genetic and environmental factors. While identifying reliable genetic variants that predispose individuals to developing SUDs has been challenging, epigenetic factors may also contribute to the heritability of SUDs. Familial drug use associates with a wide rang …

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After hearing the paternity test result Paul and Marian asked Sam’s mother if they could adopt the boy, but she refused.

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One of the worst imaginable nightmares for a parent is discovering that the child you’ve loved for years isn’t yours