Epigenetic mechanisms, trauma, and psychopathology: Targeting chromatin remodeling complexes

Tomasz Bielawski*, Blazej Misiak, Ahmed Moustafa, Dorota Frydecka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Environmental pressure affects the genotype throughout different epigenetic processes. There is currently ample evidence on the role of epigenetics in developing various mental disorders. A burden of environmental pressure, such as psychological trauma, and its influence on genotype can lead to a variety of psychopathologies. Thus, this study focuses on the epigenetic activity of the complex protein machinery operating on chromatin-the ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes. Although there are several recent studies on the molecular structure, functions, and taxonomy of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes, the focus of this paper is to highlight the importance of those 'protein machines' in developing psychiatric disorders. Data were obtained from human preclinical and clinical studies. The results of this review indicate an importance of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes in the interaction between environmental factors, including traumatic events, and genetic vulnerability to stress. Several studies indicate that ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes play a crucial role in the development and consolidation of memory, in neurodevelopmental processes, and in etiology depressive-like behavior. Thus, the activity of those 'protein machines' emerges as a key factor in the pathophysiology of various psychiatric diseases. It can also be concluded that the limitations of clinical studies may be explained by inappropriate laboratory methods and research paradigms due to the delayed timeframe of biochemical responses to environmental stimuli. Future research in this field may enable a better understanding of the pathophysiology of psychiatric diseases and contribute to the development of novel molecular treatment targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-604
Number of pages10
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


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