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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Mar 2023 - 10 Mar 2023

Basic Science, Psychology

Animal Studies, Genetics

Abdominal/Pelvic Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Mar 09

Neurogastroenterol Motil


Epigenetic mechanisms underlying stress-induced visceral pain: Resilience versus vulnerability in a two-hit model of early life stress and chronic adult stress.


Louwies T, Mohammadi E, Greenwood-Van Meerveld B


Women with a history of early life stress (ELS) have a higher risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In addition, chronic stress in adulthood can exacerbate IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain due to visceral hypersensitivity. We previously showed that sex and the predictability of ELS determine whether rats develop visceral hypersensitivity in adulthood. In female rats, unpredictable ELS confers vulnerability and results in visceral hypersensitivity, whereas predictable ELS induces resilience and does not induce visceral hypersensitivity in adulthood. However, this resilience is lost after exposure to chronic stress in adulthood leading to an exacerbation of visceral hypersensitivity. Evidence suggests that changes in histone acetylation at the promoter regions of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) underlie stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of histone acetylation in the CeA on visceral hypersensitivity in a two-hit model of ELS followed by chronic stress in adulthood.