Healthcare workers experienced high degree of stress during COVID-19. Purpose of the present article is to compare mental health (depressive and Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorders-PTSD-symptoms) and epigenetics aspects (degree of methylation of stress-related genes) in front-line healthcare professionals versus healthcare working in non-COVID-19 wards. Sixty-eight healthcare workers were included in the study: 39 were working in COVID-19 wards (cases) and 29 in non-COVID wards (controls). From all participants, demographic and clinical information were collected by an ad-hoc questionnaire. Depressive and PTSD symptoms were evaluated by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), respectively. Methylation analyses of 9 promoter/regulatory regions of genes known to be implicated in depression/PTSD (ADCYAP1, BDNF, CRHR1, DRD2, IGF2, LSD1/KDM1A, NR3C1, OXTR, SLC6A4) were performed on DNA from blood samples by the MassARRAY EpiTYPER platform, with MassCleave settings. Controls showed more frequent lifetime history of anxiety/depression with respect to cases (χ2 = 5.72, p = 0.03). On the contrary, cases versus controls presented higher PHQ-9 (t = 2.13, p = 0.04), PHQ-9 sleep item (t = 2.26, p = 0.03), IES-R total (t = 2.17, p = 0.03), IES-R intrusion (t = 2.46, p = 0.02), IES-R avoidance (t = 1.99, p = 0.05) mean total scores. Methylation levels at CRHR1, DRD2 and LSD1 genes was significantly higher in cases with respect to controls (p < 0.01, p = 0.03 and p = 0.03, respectively). Frontline health professionals experienced more negative effects on mental health during COVID-19 pandemic than non-frontline healthcare workers. Methylation levels were increased in genes regulating HPA axis (CRHR1) and dopamine neurotransmission (DRD2 and LSD1), thus supporting the involvement of these biological processes in depression/PTSD and indicating that methylation of these genes can be modulated by stress conditions, such as working as healthcare front-line during COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental health and the effects on methylation of stress-related genes in front-line versus other health care professionals during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic: an Italian pilot study / S. Tabano, L. Tassi, M. Cannone, G. Brescia, G. Gaudioso, M. Ferrara, P. Colapietro, L. Fontana, M. Miozzo, G. Croci, M. Seia, C. Piuma, M. Solbiati, E. Tobaldini, S. Ferrero, N. Montano, G. Costantino, M. Buoli. - In: EUROPEAN ARCHIVES OF PSYCHIATRY AND CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE. - ISSN 0940-1334. - (2022). [Epub ahead of print] [10.1007/s00406-022-01472-y]

Mental health and the effects on methylation of stress-related genes in front-line versus other health care professionals during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic: an Italian pilot study

S. Tabano
Primo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
G. Brescia;G. Gaudioso;M. Ferrara;P. Colapietro;L. Fontana;M. Miozzo;G. Croci;M. Solbiati;E. Tobaldini;S. Ferrero;N. Montano;G. Costantino
Penultimo
;
M. Buoli
Ultimo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2022

Abstract

Healthcare workers experienced high degree of stress during COVID-19. Purpose of the present article is to compare mental health (depressive and Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorders-PTSD-symptoms) and epigenetics aspects (degree of methylation of stress-related genes) in front-line healthcare professionals versus healthcare working in non-COVID-19 wards. Sixty-eight healthcare workers were included in the study: 39 were working in COVID-19 wards (cases) and 29 in non-COVID wards (controls). From all participants, demographic and clinical information were collected by an ad-hoc questionnaire. Depressive and PTSD symptoms were evaluated by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), respectively. Methylation analyses of 9 promoter/regulatory regions of genes known to be implicated in depression/PTSD (ADCYAP1, BDNF, CRHR1, DRD2, IGF2, LSD1/KDM1A, NR3C1, OXTR, SLC6A4) were performed on DNA from blood samples by the MassARRAY EpiTYPER platform, with MassCleave settings. Controls showed more frequent lifetime history of anxiety/depression with respect to cases (χ2 = 5.72, p = 0.03). On the contrary, cases versus controls presented higher PHQ-9 (t = 2.13, p = 0.04), PHQ-9 sleep item (t = 2.26, p = 0.03), IES-R total (t = 2.17, p = 0.03), IES-R intrusion (t = 2.46, p = 0.02), IES-R avoidance (t = 1.99, p = 0.05) mean total scores. Methylation levels at CRHR1, DRD2 and LSD1 genes was significantly higher in cases with respect to controls (p < 0.01, p = 0.03 and p = 0.03, respectively). Frontline health professionals experienced more negative effects on mental health during COVID-19 pandemic than non-frontline healthcare workers. Methylation levels were increased in genes regulating HPA axis (CRHR1) and dopamine neurotransmission (DRD2 and LSD1), thus supporting the involvement of these biological processes in depression/PTSD and indicating that methylation of these genes can be modulated by stress conditions, such as working as healthcare front-line during COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19; Epigenetics; Health professionals; Mental health; Stress-related genes
Settore MED/25 - Psichiatria
Settore MED/03 - Genetica Medica
2022
24-ago-2022
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/936880
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