What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind-Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices

Ivana Buric, Miguel Farias, Jonathan Jong, Christopher Mee, Inti A. Brazil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

24 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There is considerable evidence for the effectiveness of mind-body interventions (MBIs) in improving mental and physical health, but the molecular mechanisms of these benefits remain poorly understood. One hypothesis is that MBIs reverse expression of genes involved in inflammatory reactions that are induced by stress. This systematic review was conducted to examine changes in gene expression that occur after MBIs and to explore how these molecular changes are related to health. We searched PubMed throughout September 2016 to look for studies that have used gene expression analysis in MBIs (i.e., mindfulness, yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, relaxation response, and breath regulation). Due to the limited quantity of studies, we included both clinical and non-clinical samples with any type of research design. Eighteen relevant studies were retrieved and analyzed. Overall, the studies indicate that these practices are associated with a downregulation of nuclear factor kappa B pathway; this is the opposite of the effects of chronic stress on gene expression and suggests that MBI practices may lead to a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases. However, it is unclear how the effects of MBIs compare to other healthy interventions such as exercise or nutrition due to the small number of available studies. More research is required to be able to understand the effects of MBIs at the molecular level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number670
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume8
Issue numberJUN
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2017

Fingerprint

Meditation
Gene Expression
Qigong
Tai Ji
Yoga
Mindfulness
NF-kappa B
PubMed
Mental Health
Research Design
Down-Regulation
Inflammation
Health
Research

Keywords

  • Conserved transcriptional response to adversity
  • Gene expression
  • Inflammation
  • Meditation
  • Mind-body
  • Nuclear factor kappa B
  • Stress
  • Yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Cite this

What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind-Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices. / Buric, Ivana; Farias, Miguel; Jong, Jonathan; Mee, Christopher; Brazil, Inti A.

In: Frontiers in Immunology, Vol. 8, No. JUN, 670, 16.06.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{3bd52a2d6e414dbd972526be4ba88cbf,
title = "What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind-Body Interventions?: A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices",
abstract = "There is considerable evidence for the effectiveness of mind-body interventions (MBIs) in improving mental and physical health, but the molecular mechanisms of these benefits remain poorly understood. One hypothesis is that MBIs reverse expression of genes involved in inflammatory reactions that are induced by stress. This systematic review was conducted to examine changes in gene expression that occur after MBIs and to explore how these molecular changes are related to health. We searched PubMed throughout September 2016 to look for studies that have used gene expression analysis in MBIs (i.e., mindfulness, yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, relaxation response, and breath regulation). Due to the limited quantity of studies, we included both clinical and non-clinical samples with any type of research design. Eighteen relevant studies were retrieved and analyzed. Overall, the studies indicate that these practices are associated with a downregulation of nuclear factor kappa B pathway; this is the opposite of the effects of chronic stress on gene expression and suggests that MBI practices may lead to a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases. However, it is unclear how the effects of MBIs compare to other healthy interventions such as exercise or nutrition due to the small number of available studies. More research is required to be able to understand the effects of MBIs at the molecular level.",
keywords = "Conserved transcriptional response to adversity, Gene expression, Inflammation, Meditation, Mind-body, Nuclear factor kappa B, Stress, Yoga",
author = "Ivana Buric and Miguel Farias and Jonathan Jong and Christopher Mee and Brazil, {Inti A.}",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
day = "16",
doi = "10.3389/fimmu.2017.00670",
language = "English",
volume = "8",
journal = "Frontiers in Immunology",
issn = "1664-3224",
publisher = "Frontiers Media",
number = "JUN",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind-Body Interventions?

T2 - A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices

AU - Buric, Ivana

AU - Farias, Miguel

AU - Jong, Jonathan

AU - Mee, Christopher

AU - Brazil, Inti A.

PY - 2017/6/16

Y1 - 2017/6/16

N2 - There is considerable evidence for the effectiveness of mind-body interventions (MBIs) in improving mental and physical health, but the molecular mechanisms of these benefits remain poorly understood. One hypothesis is that MBIs reverse expression of genes involved in inflammatory reactions that are induced by stress. This systematic review was conducted to examine changes in gene expression that occur after MBIs and to explore how these molecular changes are related to health. We searched PubMed throughout September 2016 to look for studies that have used gene expression analysis in MBIs (i.e., mindfulness, yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, relaxation response, and breath regulation). Due to the limited quantity of studies, we included both clinical and non-clinical samples with any type of research design. Eighteen relevant studies were retrieved and analyzed. Overall, the studies indicate that these practices are associated with a downregulation of nuclear factor kappa B pathway; this is the opposite of the effects of chronic stress on gene expression and suggests that MBI practices may lead to a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases. However, it is unclear how the effects of MBIs compare to other healthy interventions such as exercise or nutrition due to the small number of available studies. More research is required to be able to understand the effects of MBIs at the molecular level.

AB - There is considerable evidence for the effectiveness of mind-body interventions (MBIs) in improving mental and physical health, but the molecular mechanisms of these benefits remain poorly understood. One hypothesis is that MBIs reverse expression of genes involved in inflammatory reactions that are induced by stress. This systematic review was conducted to examine changes in gene expression that occur after MBIs and to explore how these molecular changes are related to health. We searched PubMed throughout September 2016 to look for studies that have used gene expression analysis in MBIs (i.e., mindfulness, yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, relaxation response, and breath regulation). Due to the limited quantity of studies, we included both clinical and non-clinical samples with any type of research design. Eighteen relevant studies were retrieved and analyzed. Overall, the studies indicate that these practices are associated with a downregulation of nuclear factor kappa B pathway; this is the opposite of the effects of chronic stress on gene expression and suggests that MBI practices may lead to a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases. However, it is unclear how the effects of MBIs compare to other healthy interventions such as exercise or nutrition due to the small number of available studies. More research is required to be able to understand the effects of MBIs at the molecular level.

KW - Conserved transcriptional response to adversity

KW - Gene expression

KW - Inflammation

KW - Meditation

KW - Mind-body

KW - Nuclear factor kappa B

KW - Stress

KW - Yoga

U2 - 10.3389/fimmu.2017.00670

DO - 10.3389/fimmu.2017.00670

M3 - Review article

VL - 8

JO - Frontiers in Immunology

JF - Frontiers in Immunology

SN - 1664-3224

IS - JUN

M1 - 670

ER -