From circuits to chromatin: The emerging role of epigenetics in mental health

Academic Article


  • A central goal of neuroscience research is to understand how experiences modify brain circuits to guide future adaptive behavior. In response to environmental stimuli, neural circuit activity engages gene regulatory mechanisms within each cell. This activity-dependent gene expression is governed, in part, by epigenetic processes that can produce persistent changes in both neural circuits and the epigenome itself. The complex interplay between circuit activity and neuronal gene regulation is vital to learning and memory, and, when disrupted, is linked to debilitating psychiatric conditions, such as substance use disorder. To develop clinical treatments, it is paramount to advance our understanding of how neural circuits and the epigenome cooperate to produce behavioral adaptation. Here, we discuss how new genetic tools, used to manipulate neural circuits and chromatin, have enabled the discovery of epigenetic processes that bring about long-lasting changes in behavior relevant to mental health and disease.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mews P; Calipari ES; Day J; Lobo MK; Bredy T; Abel T
  • Start Page

  • 873
  • End Page

  • 882
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 5