Mindfulness meditation and gene expression: a hypothesis-generating framework. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Mindfulness meditation and gene expression: a hypothesis-generating framework.
Curr Opin Psychol. 2019 Aug ;28:302-306. Epub 2019 Jul 11. PMID: 31352296
David S Black
Recent research in functional genomics shows that social stressors affect the expression of immune response genes. These effects are mediated in part via our adaptive capacity for intracellular molecules to respond to extracellular signals, a process called signal transduction. Under this framework, one-way stressors can be transduced into cellular changes is through central nervous system (CNS) modulation of peripheral neural, endocrine, and molecular activity. Mindfulness meditation is a consciousness discipline used to cultivate attention and self-regulation, and may thus be relevant to the signal transduction process outlined in the social genomics literature. In this opinion article, we briefly review results from existing controlled trials that test the effects of mindfulness meditation on gene expression. We then speculate on a mind-body conceptual model, grounded in existing social genomics theory. In the spirit of hypothesis generation, we argue that mindfulness meditation changes brain activity patterns related to attention, self-regulation, and threat evaluation and so may alter the signal transduction process that regulates the expression of immune response genes.