Dads pass health effects of stress on to sons, mouse study finds | Science News

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.



Science Ticker

Your daily roundup of research news

Science News Staff
Science Ticker

Dads pass health effects of stress on to sons, mouse study finds

mouse

Male mice that experienced chronic stress had sons with high blood sugar, a new study finds. 

Sponsor Message

A father’s stress may directly affect his son’s health.

In mice, males exposed to repeated psychological stress developed high blood sugar — and so did their unstressed male offspring, researchers report online February 18 in Cell Metabolism.  Stress appeared to alter chemical tags on the DNA in a male’s sperm. These epigenetic tweaks were then passed onto male pups, which produced higher levels of blood sugar-generating proteins in their livers than mice sired by unstressed fathers. If the frazzled fathers received daily doses of a drug that blocked stress hormones before mating, their sons’ increased blood sugar was mostly prevented, the team found.

The results call for further exploration of how a father’s experiences or actions — for example, smoking or exposure to toxins — may impact his children’s health, the scientists say.  

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More Genes & Cells articles