Interaction between the BDNF rs11030101 genotype and job stress on cognitive empathy.
Journal of affective disorders
BACKGROUND:Empathy refers to an individual's ability to experience the emotional and cognitive processes of another person during social interactions. Although many studies have examined the effects of genetic variation on emotional empathy, little is currently known about whether genetic factors may influence cognitive empathy. This study investigated the relationship between BDNF rs11030101 genotype, job stress, and empathy, especially cognitive empathy, in a Chinese Han population. METHODS:A cross-sectional design was used and 340 participants were recruited from a university in Beijing. Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) was used to measure empathy. Job stress was measured using House and Rizzo's Job Stress Scale. The BDNF rs11030101 was genotyped in all participants. RESULTS:Gender and age were associated with various IRI subscales (p < 0.001). After controlling for gender, age and education level, BDNF rs11030101 genotype had no main effect on all empathy subscales (p > 0.05). Job stress was negatively associated with Perspective Taking (p = 0.006) and positively associated with Personal Distress (p < 0.001). In addition, the BDNF rs11030101 genotype modulated the relationship between job stress and Fantasy (p = 0.013), indicating that T allele carriers had higher Fantasy scores at higher job stress and lower Fantasy scores at lower job stress than AA homozygotes. This interaction was only present in women. LIMITATIONS:The sample size and single-nucleotide polymorphism are limited, and the cross-sectional design should be improved. CONCLUSIONS:Female university faculty with the BDNF rs11030101 T allele may utilize higher emotional job demands, thereby fostering their cognitive empathy.
Four weeks of light-intensity exercise enhances empathic behavior in mice: The possible involvement of BDNF.
Empathy is one of the essential functions of mammals for maintaining relationships with others. Physical activity contributes to enhancing empathic attitude and behavior; however, it is remained to cover the effective intensity of exercise on mammal empathy. Here, we tested the effects of light-intensity exercise, which has beneficial effects on expressing neurotrophic factors in the brain, on empathic behavior. Eight-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were subjected to forced wheel running at light-intensity (7.0 m/min, 30 min/day, 5 days/week) for 4 weeks. Then, all mice were subjected to helping behavior to evaluate their empathic behavior. The insular cortex was collected for analyzing the expressions of mRNA and miRNA. Four weeks of light-intensity exercise enhanced helping behavior. Exercised mice exhibited higher Bdnf gene expressions in the insular cortex than sedentary mice. In addition, there was a significant positive correlation between mRNA levels of Fndc5 and Bdnf in the insular cortex. Based on miRNA sequencing, 26 out of 51 miRNAs were significantly upregulated, and 25 out of 51 miRNAs were significantly downregulated in the insular cortex of mice with exercise. There were significant correlations between 11 out of 51 miRNAs and helping behavior; miR-486a-3p, which relates to FNDC5 expression, was contained. These results imply that miR-486a-3p/Fndc5/Bdnf pathway in the insular cortex would be a possible target for treating empathy.