Lecture – A Translational Perspective on Intergenerational Trauma

Available with English captions.

McLean Forum
Torsten Klengel, MD, PhD, McLean Hospital

The transmission of information on environmental factors across generations is a widespread phenomenon detectable in animal models and clinical studies. A broad body of literature suggests that exposure to traumatic events in antecedent generations can influence the risk to develop psychiatric disorders in the offspring. More recent molecular studies suggest that the effects of the environment, including trauma, may be transmitted via biological mechanisms, provoking a controversial discussion of whether and how humans may inherit information on the experiences of their parents and grandparents.

In this presentation, Klengel:

  • Explains the concept of intergenerational trauma
  • Differentiates between inter- and transgenerational effects
  • Describes basic concepts of molecular studies focusing on inter- and transgenerational phenotypes