Glucocorticoid receptor gene methylation and HPA-axis regulation in adolescents: The TRAILS study

van der Knaap, L. J., Oldehinkel, A. J., Verhulst, F. C., van Oort, F. V. A. & Riese, H., Aug-2015, In : Psychoneuroendocrinology. 58, p. 46-50 5 p.

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  • Glucocorticoid receptor gene methylation and HPA-axis regulation in adolescents

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Early life adversity and psychopathology are thought to be linked through HPA-axis deregulation. Changes in methylation levels of stress reactivity genes such as the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) can be induced by adversity. Higher NR3C1 methylation levels have been associated with a reduced NR3C1 expression, possibly leading to impaired negative feedback regulation of the HPA-axis. In this study we tested whether methylation levels of NR3C1 were associated with HPA-axis regulation, operationalized as cortisol responses. In 361 adolescents (mean age 16.1, SD = 0.6), salivary cortisol samples were collected before, during, and after a social stress task, from which response measures (cortisol activation and recovery) were calculated. Higher NR3C1 nnethylation levels were associated with a flattened cortisol recovery slope, indicating a delayed recovery time. Cortisol response activation was not associated with NR3C1 methylation. These results suggest that methylation of NR3C1 may impair negative feedback of the HPA-axis in adolescents. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-50
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2015


  • Cortisol, HPA-axis, Methylation, NR3C1, Epigenetics, Adolescents, CORTISOL RESPONSES, STRESS RESPONSES, ASSOCIATIONS

ID: 22561479