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

Rapid Gene Expression Changes in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes Upon Practice of a Comprehensive Yoga Program

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Free PMC article
Clinical Trial

Rapid Gene Expression Changes in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes Upon Practice of a Comprehensive Yoga Program

Su Qu et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article

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.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors hereby state that Coffral Ltd is a commercial funder, but none of the authors had any financial support from it, including employment, consultancy, patents, products in development or marketed products, etc.. Thus, funding by Coffral Ltd does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1. Heatmaps of the differentially expressed genes induced by the yoga (A) and control (B) regimens.
Genes were clustered as described in Materials and Methods. Letters in columns represent subjects and the numbers after the letters refer to the interventions (1 and 3  =  before yoga; 2 and 4  =  after yoga; 5 and 7 before the control regimen; 6 and 8, after the control regimen) (also see Figure S1). C) Venn diagram indicating the overlap in the genes commonly regulated by the yoga and control regimens.
Figure 2
Figure 2. The top 20 ranked genes that are differentially expressed upon yoga (SK&P) or the control regimen.
The ranks and the fold changes were determined as described in Materials and Methods. Values greater than 1.0 denote an increase and values smaller than –1.0 indicate a decrease in gene expression.
Figure 3
Figure 3. The mRNA expression of the indicated genes which are differentially expressed by the yoga (SK&P), but not the control regimen, according to the microarray data were subjected to qPCR analysis as described in Materials and Methods.
Ctrl, control; yoga, SK&P. White and black bars represent samples collected before and after the interventions, respectively. Y axis denotes fold-change in expression. Results represent data from 8 different subjects for each group. Comparisons were made with the student’s T-test. *, P<0.05.
Figure 4
Figure 4. Same as in Figure 3, but a sample of the genes that are differentially expressed by the control, but not the yoga regimen in the microarray analysis, were subjected to qPCR in both the control and SK&P samples.
White and black bars represent samples collected before and after the interventions, respectively.
Figure 5
Figure 5. Same as in Figure 3, but a sample of the genes that are differentially expressed by both the control and the yoga regimens according to the microarray analysis were subjected to qPCR.
White and black bars represent samples collected before and after the interventions, respectively.

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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.

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