Wild house mice form social hierarchies with aggressive males defending territories, in which females, young mice and submissive adult males share nests. In contrast, socially excluded males are barred from breeding groups, have numerous bite wounds and patches of thinning fur. Since their feeding times are often disrupted, we investigated whether social exclusion leads to changes in epigenetic marks of metabolic genes in liver tissue. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation and quantitative PCR to measure enrichment of two activating histone marks at 15 candidate loci. The epigenetic profiles of healthy males sampled from nest boxes differed significantly from the profiles of ostracized males caught outside of nests and showing bite wounds indicative of social exclusion. Enrichment of histone-3 lysine-4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) changed significantly at genes Cyp4a14, Gapdh, Nr3c1, Pck1, Ppara, and Sqle. Changes at histone-3 lysine-27 acetylation (H3K27ac) marks were detected at genes Fasn, Nr3c1, and Plin5. A principal components analysis separated the socialized from the ostracized mice. This was independent of body weight for the H3K4me3 mark, and partially dependent for H3K27ac. There was no separation, however, between healthy males that had been sampled from two different nests. A hierarchical cluster analysis also separated the two phenotypes, which was independent of body weight for both markers. Our study shows that a period of social exclusion during adult life leads to quantitative changes in histone modification patterns in mouse liver tissue. Similar epigenetic changes might occur during the development of stress-induced metabolic disorders in humans.
Krause, L., Haubold, B., & Börsch-Haubold, A. G. (2015). Spontaneous Centralization of Control in a Network of Company Ownerships. PLoS ONE, 10(8), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0133988