Blood and Brains

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Science  25 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6182, pp. 341
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6182.341-a

Epigenetic changes, such as gene methylation, can be detected directly by examining the status of DNA within specific tissues. However, it is desirable to identify epigenetic changes from afar, especially in tissues that may be hard to survey, such as the brain. Working with a mouse model of Cushing's disease, characterized by changes in methylation as a response to exposure to glucocorticoids, Ewald et al. found that methylation and expression of the Fkpb5 gene within the hippocampus correlated with its degree of methylation in the blood. Although limited by the examination of only a single gene, the observed correlation highlights that for some diseases, it may be possible to use blood monitoring to infer epigenetic changes in the brain.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 44, 112 (2014).

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