Summary of “How Dad’s Stresses Get Passed Along to Offspring”

Preliminary research Bale and others, announced this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, shows how extracellular vesicles can regulate brain circuits and help diagnose neurodegenerative diseases-in addition to altering sperm to disrupt the brain health of resulting offspring.
Remarkably, the way a mouse physiologically responds to stress looks noticeably different if-months before conception-its father endured a period of stress.
Somehow “Their brain develops differently than if their dad hadn’t experienced that stress,” says Chris Morgan, a postdoc in Bale’s lab who helped create the mouse model.
In one set of experiments Chan stressed a group of male mice, let them mate and looked at stress responses in the pups.
Half his sperm went into a lab dish with vesicles previously exposed to stress hormones.
Pups from stress-exposed zygotes showed the same abnormal stress response as those whose dads had experienced stress before mating.
Preliminary data suggests just several months after a student reports stress, his sperm shows changes in “Small noncoding RNAs”-RNA molecules that do not get translated to protein but instead control which genes get turned on or off.
The molecular signatures in extracellular vesicles may also help researchers discover new ways to noninvasively diagnose or predict adverse health outcomes in offspring, says Gerlinde Metz, who studies transgenerational inheritance of stress responses at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta and was not involved with the research.

The orginal article.