Environmental stressors such as repeated social defeat may initiate powerful activation of subconscious parts of the brain. Here, we examine the consequences of such stress (induced by resident-intruder paradigm) on the pituitary gland. In male stressed vs. control rats, by RNA- and bisulfite DNA sequencing, we found regulation of genes involved in neuron morphogenesis and communication. Among these, Neuronal cell adhesion molecule (Nrcam) showed reduced transcription and reduced DNA methylation in a region corresponding to intron 1 in human NRCAM. Also, genetic variability in this area was associated with altered stress response in male humans exposed to repeated social defeat in the form of abusive supervision. Thus, our data show that the pituitary gene expression may be affected by social stress and that genetic variability in NRCAM intron 1 region influences stress-induced negative emotions. We hope our shared datasets will facilitate further exploration of the motions triggered by social stressors.
Mapping of pituitary stress-induced gene regulation connects Nrcam to negative emotions