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

17 Apr 2013


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.

Citation: Qu S, Olafsrud SM, Meza-Zepeda LA, Saatcioglu F (2013) Rapid Gene Expression Changes in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes upon Practice of a Comprehensive Yoga Program. PLoS ONE 8(4): e61910. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061910

Editor: Srinivas Mummidi, South Texas Veterans Health Care System and University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, United States of America

Received: September 4, 2012; Accepted: March 18, 2013; Published: April 17, 2013

Copyright: © 2013 Qu et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: 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.

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.

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