Genetic and epigenetic consequence of early-life social stress on depression: Role of serotonin-associated genes

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Early-life adversity caused by poor social bonding and deprived maternal care is known to affect mental wellbeing and physical health. It is a form of chronic social stress that persists because of a negative environment, and the consequences are long-lasting on mental health. The presence of social stress during early life can have an epigenetic effect on the body, possibly resulting in many complex mental disorders, including depression in later life. Here, we review the evidence for early-life social stress-induced epigenetic changes that modulate juvenile and adult social behavior (depression and anxiety). This review has a particular emphasis on the interaction between early-life social stress and genetic variation of serotonin associate genes including the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT; also known as SLC6A4), which are key molecules involved in depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number601868
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021


  • 5-HT receptor
  • depression
  • epigenetic modification
  • serotonin
  • social stress

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