Epigenetic protection: maternal touch and DNA-methylation in early life

Isabella Lucia Chiara Mariani Wigley, Eleonora Mascheroni, Sabrina Bonichini, Rosario Montirosso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Caregiving touch is a crucial component of natural caregiving and constitutes a protective factor with significant impact on infant neurodevelopment. Recent studies highlighted that maternal touch in early life is associated with epigenetic variation between infants. In the current paper, studies that address early caregiving touch in association with DNA methylation will be discussed, positing that mother-infant touch acts as an epigenetic protection mechanism. Understanding how maternal touch and body-to-body contact can shape the epigenome holds the potential to shed light on the mechanisms through which these early tactile experiences advance mental and physical health over the lifetime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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