Rapid gene expression changes in peripheral blood lymphocytes upon practice of a comprehensive yoga program

PLoS One. 2013 Apr 17;8(4):e61910. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061910. Print 2013.

Abstract

One of the most common integrative medicine (IM) modalities is yoga and related practices. Previous work has shown that yoga may improve wellness in healthy people and have benefits for patients. However, the mechanisms of how yoga may positively affect the mind-body system are largely unknown. Here we have assessed possible rapid changes in global gene expression profiles in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in healthy people that practiced either a comprehensive yoga program or a control regimen. The experimental sessions included gentle yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation (Sudarshan Kriya and Related Practices--SK&P) compared with a control regimen of a nature walk and listening to relaxing music. We show that the SK&P program has a rapid and significantly greater effect on gene expression in PBMCs compared with the control regimen. These data suggest that yoga and related practices result in rapid gene expression alterations which may be the basis for their longer term cell biological and higher level health effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • RNA, Messenger

Grant support

This work was supported by grants from the Norwegian Cancer Society and Coffral Ltd to FS. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.