Lookup NU author(s): Dr Amy Vincent,
Dr Martin Picard
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Intrinsic biological mechanisms transduce psychological stress into physiological adaptation that requires energy, but the role of mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in this process has not been defined in humans. Here, we show that similar to physical injury, exposure to psychological stress increases serum circulating cell-free mtDNA (ccf-mtDNA) levels. Healthy midlife adults exposed on two separate occasions to a brief psychological challenge exhibited a 2-3-fold increase in ccf-mtDNA, with no change in ccf-nuclear DNA levels, establishing the magnitude and specificity for ccf-mtDNA reactivity. In cell-based studies, we show that glucocorticoid signaling – a consequence of psychological stress in humans – is sufficient to induce mtDNA extrusion in a time frame consistent with stress-induced ccf-mtDNA increase. Collectively, these findings provide evidence that acute psychological stress induces ccf-mtDNA and implicate neuroendocrine signaling as a potential trigger for ccf-mtDNA release. Further controlled work is needed to confirm that observed increases in ccf-mtDNA result from stress exposure and to determine the functional significance of this effect.
Author(s): Trumpff C, Marsland AL, Basualto-Alarcon C, Martin JL, Carroll JE, Sturm G, Vincent AE, Mosharov EV, Gu Z, Kaufman BA, Picard M
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/08/2019
Online publication date: 28/03/2019
Acceptance date: 25/03/2019
ISSN (print): 0306-4530
ISSN (electronic): 1873-3360
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
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