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High maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy are associated with more psychiatric symptoms in offspring at age of nine - A prospective study from Nicaragua.
J Psychiatr Res. 2015 Dec; 71:97-102.JP

Abstract

Maternal exposure to stress or adversity during pregnancy has been associated with negative health effects for the offspring including psychiatric symptoms. Programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been suggested as one mediating process. In order to investigate possible long term effects of stressors during pregnancy, we followed 70 children and their mothers from pregnancy up to nine years aiming to investigate if maternal cortisol levels and distress/exposure to partner violence were associated with child psychiatric symptoms and child cortisol levels at follow-up. Maternal distress was evaluated using The Self Reporting Questionnaire, exposure to partner violence by an instrument from WHO and child psychiatric symptoms with Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). We adjusted the analyses for gestational week, gender, SES, perinatal data and maternal distress/exposure to partner violence at child age of nine years. Elevated maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy, as a possible marker of maternal stress load, were correlated with higher CBCL-ratings, especially concerning externalizing symptoms. Maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy were not associated with child cortisol levels at child age of nine years. Maternal distress and exposure to partner violence during pregnancy were neither associated with child psychiatric symptoms nor child cortisol levels. To conclude, intrauterine exposure to elevated cortisol levels was associated with higher ratings on offspring psychopathology at nine years of age. The lack of association between maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy and child cortisol levels does not support the hypothesis of fetal programming of the HPA-axis, but reliability problems may have contributed to this negative finding.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Neuroscience, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Uppsala University, Sweden. Electronic address: johan.isaksson@neuro.uu.se.Department of Neuroscience, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Uppsala University, Sweden.Center for Research and Interventions in Health, León, Nicaragua.Department of Women's and Children's Health/Obstetrics & Gynecology, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

26458013

Citation

Isaksson, J, et al. "High Maternal Cortisol Levels During Pregnancy Are Associated With More Psychiatric Symptoms in Offspring at Age of Nine - a Prospective Study From Nicaragua." Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 71, 2015, pp. 97-102.
Isaksson J, Lindblad F, Valladares E, et al. High maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy are associated with more psychiatric symptoms in offspring at age of nine - A prospective study from Nicaragua. J Psychiatr Res. 2015;71:97-102.
Isaksson, J., Lindblad, F., Valladares, E., & Högberg, U. (2015). High maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy are associated with more psychiatric symptoms in offspring at age of nine - A prospective study from Nicaragua. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 71, 97-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.09.016
Isaksson J, et al. High Maternal Cortisol Levels During Pregnancy Are Associated With More Psychiatric Symptoms in Offspring at Age of Nine - a Prospective Study From Nicaragua. J Psychiatr Res. 2015;71:97-102. PubMed PMID: 26458013.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - High maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy are associated with more psychiatric symptoms in offspring at age of nine - A prospective study from Nicaragua. AU - Isaksson,J, AU - Lindblad,F, AU - Valladares,E, AU - Högberg,U, Y1 - 2015/09/30/ PY - 2015/06/02/received PY - 2015/09/25/revised PY - 2015/09/25/accepted PY - 2015/10/13/entrez PY - 2015/10/13/pubmed PY - 2016/8/11/medline KW - CBCL KW - Cortisol KW - Distress KW - Fetal programming theory KW - HPA-axis KW - Psychiatric symptoms SP - 97 EP - 102 JF - Journal of psychiatric research JO - J Psychiatr Res VL - 71 N2 - Maternal exposure to stress or adversity during pregnancy has been associated with negative health effects for the offspring including psychiatric symptoms. Programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been suggested as one mediating process. In order to investigate possible long term effects of stressors during pregnancy, we followed 70 children and their mothers from pregnancy up to nine years aiming to investigate if maternal cortisol levels and distress/exposure to partner violence were associated with child psychiatric symptoms and child cortisol levels at follow-up. Maternal distress was evaluated using The Self Reporting Questionnaire, exposure to partner violence by an instrument from WHO and child psychiatric symptoms with Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). We adjusted the analyses for gestational week, gender, SES, perinatal data and maternal distress/exposure to partner violence at child age of nine years. Elevated maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy, as a possible marker of maternal stress load, were correlated with higher CBCL-ratings, especially concerning externalizing symptoms. Maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy were not associated with child cortisol levels at child age of nine years. Maternal distress and exposure to partner violence during pregnancy were neither associated with child psychiatric symptoms nor child cortisol levels. To conclude, intrauterine exposure to elevated cortisol levels was associated with higher ratings on offspring psychopathology at nine years of age. The lack of association between maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy and child cortisol levels does not support the hypothesis of fetal programming of the HPA-axis, but reliability problems may have contributed to this negative finding. SN - 1879-1379 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/26458013/High_maternal_cortisol_levels_during_pregnancy_are_associated_with_more_psychiatric_symptoms_in_offspring_at_age_of_nine___A_prospective_study_from_Nicaragua_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0022-3956(15)00277-0 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -