Chronic stress damages cells and organs, and promotes dysregulation across organ systems. When part of the system fails, this causes disease.
Evidence suggests that mitochondria are sensitive to various stressors, which cause maladaptive structural and functional changes in response to chronic stress. This is termed mitochondrial allostatic load (MAL). We study the effects of acute and chronic stressors on mitochondria as a component of the stress-disease cascade.
During stress, mitochondria also release their mtDNA, which can be detected in the bloodstream as circulating cell-free mtDNA (ccf-mtDNA), or circulating mitochondrial genome (CMG) fragments.
This effort has two main objectives:
The mitochondrial phenotype is the integrated sum of mitochondrial structures, molecular composition, and functions. The mitochondrial phenotyping platform for human blood cells developed in collaboration with Yan Burelle combines biochemical and molecular techniques in fresh and frozen cells and tissues.
- Mitochondrial nexus to allostatic load biomarkers
Picard M, Juster RP, Sloan RP, McEwen BS. Psychosom Med 2016 (in press) PubMed PDF
- Mitochondrial allostatic load puts the ‘gluc’ back into glucocorticoids
Picard M, Juster RP, McEwen BS. Nat Rev Endocrinol 2014; 10(5):303-10 PubMed PDF
- Chronic stress increases vulnerability to diet-related visceral adiposity, oxidative stress and metabolic risk
Aschbacher K, Kornfeld S, Picard M, Puterman E, Havel P, Lustig R, Epel E. Psychoneuroencocrinology 2014; 46:14-22 PubMed PDF
- Is the whole greater than the sum of the parts? Self-rated health and transdisciplinarity
Picard M, Juster RP and Sabiston CM. Health 2013; 5(12A):24-30 PDF
- Pathways to aging: The mitochondrion at the intersection of biological and psychosocial sciences
Picard M. J Aging Res 2011; 814096:1-11 PubMed PDF
- A transdisciplinary perspective of chronic stress in relation to psychopathology throughout lifespan development
Juster RP, Bizik G, Picard M, Arsenault-Lapierre G, Sindi S, Trepanier L, Marin MF, Wan N, Sekerovic Z, Lord C, Fiocco A, Plusquellec P, McEwen B, Lupien S. Dev Psychopathol 2011; 23(03):725-76 PubMed PDF