About this Research Topic
Stress precipitates or perpetuates psychiatric disorders and can negatively affect the course of several non-psychiatric conditions. This has been clearly demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic that is greatly impacting mental health among the general population. For the diagnosis of these conditions, psychiatrists follow the guidelines in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5). However, these diagnostic methods are limited and not broadly available to all health care providers. Hence, the search for readily accessible biomarkers of stress-induced disorders has gained popularity in recent years. To date, several biomarkers have been proposed to improve the diagnosis of mental health disorders, including brain imaging, epigenetic markers, blood-derived molecules, and more recently, plasma-derived extracellular vesicles. Correct psychiatric diagnosis is critical for choosing effective pharmacological treatments, which differ substantially among the classifications. Circulating biomarkers that can be readily assessed may provide a more accurate and timely diagnosis and facilitate treatment.
Most research searching for biomarkers of stress-induced psychiatric disorders has been conducted in high- and middle-income countries where technological resources and populations may differ substantially from economically disadvantaged countries. These countries are represented as minorities instead of begin considered a significant proportion of the world population with internal diversity. Consequently, the diverse social, genetic, and epigenetic traits of these countries’ populations are transformed into a nebulose for whom research imposes uniform assumptions. This bias prevents the search for effective and accessible biomarkers for stress-induced disorders that could be used in economically disadvantaged settings.
The current Research Topic aims to explore novel stress biomarkers in preclinical and clinical studies that may provide additional insight into their potential value for assessing psychiatric disorders. Emerging evidence indicates that epigenetic signatures may represent novel biomarkers for the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases. In addition, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have gained attention in the field of biomarkers because they contain molecular information from their originating cell/tissue, including the brain. EVs are lipid bilayer-limited vesicles that contain transmembrane and intraluminal proteins as well as several RNA species. In turn, many of the RNA species contained in EVs could participate in the epigenetic regulation of target cells. Brain-derived EVs cross the blood-brain barrier and can be detected in peripheral fluids minimizing the patient's discomfort. Therefore, a combination of novel biomarkers could lead the way towards personalized diagnoses and effective time-sparing treatments.
This Research Topic welcomes studies in animals and/or humans, including but not restricted to the following themes:
• Biomarkers of stress in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and/or aging. As well as gender/sex differences in the stress response.
• Impact of the different types of stress (i.e., maternal separation, chronic mild stress) on epigenetic mechanisms and gene expression and their putative use as stress biomarkers.
• Contributions of stress in emotional dysregulation and abnormal performance at behavioral endpoints (clinical and preclinical).
• Extracellular vesicles in the stress response.
• Biomarker/diagnosis of stress-induced disorders among individuals from low-income populations from Latin America that are usually underrepresented in literature.
Keywords: Stress, extracellular vesicles, epigenetics, biomarkers, mood disorders, economically disadvantaged
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