Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetics and Sociality

29.11.2011
Researchers show in the journal “PNAS” how friends can relieve stress

Social support from family and friends is one of the most powerful protective factors against stress-related diseases - from heart attacks to depression. Prof. Markus Heinrichs, Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Freiburg, demonstrated in 2003 for the first time in humans that the neurohormone oxytocin plays a central role in both the control of stress and the stress-reducing effect of social support. He has also shown in a series of studies that oxytocin administered as a nasal spray increases trust and empathy for others and therefore has therapeutic potential for a range of mental disorders.

But could the oxytocin system also help explain why support from close friends and family has very different effects on individuals?

In the current issue of the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the Freiburg psychologists and neuroscientists Prof. Markus Heinrichs, Dr. Frances S. Chen, Dr. Robert Kumsta, and Dr. Bernadette von Dawans, together with the researchers Prof. Richard P. Ebstein and Dr. Mikhail Monakhov of the National University of Singapore, examined for the first time genetic modulation of social support’s effectiveness during stress through variants of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). The hormonal and subjective stress responses of 200 adults to a standardized social stress test were studied; half of the sample was asked to bring a close friend for support. “The presence of a friend during preparation for the test reduced stress in most people; interestingly, however, the group of people carrying a particular variant of the oxytocin receptor gene did not benefit from the support" said Frances S. Chen. For Markus Heinrichs, these results have far-reaching consequences for current research on new therapeutic approaches: "The ‘psychobiological therapy' we are currently developing involves a completely new combination of oxytocin and psychotherapy for mental disorders involving social deficits – here, it is of great relevance to understand how ‘sensitive’ this system is in different patients.”

Original Publication:
Chen, F.S.*, Kumsta, R.*, von Dawans, B., Monakhov, M., Ebstein, R.P. & Heinrichs, M. (2011). Common oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism and social support interact to reduce stress in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), in press. (* shared first authorship)

www.psychologie.uni-freiburg.de/abteilungen/psychobio

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Markus Heinrichs
Department of Psychology
University of Freiburg
Phone: 0049-761-203-3029
Fax: 0049-761-203-3023
E-mail: heinrichs@psychologie.uni-freiburg.de

Prof. Dr. Markus Heinrichs | University of Freiburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-freiburg.de

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA eyes Pineapple Express soaking California

24.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp

24.02.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>