Antidepressants, Infection in Pregnancy Linked to Neurodevelopmental Disorders


Antidepressant use during pregnancy, combined with inflammation, may increase the risk of lifelong neurodevelopmental changes in the baby’s brain, such as those linked to autism, according to the University of Virginia School of Medicine. New research suggests.

A team of UVA neuroscientists have found that commonly used antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can potently interact with maternal inflammation caused by infections and other causes. In laboratory mice, this interaction caused deleterious changes in the placenta and decidua (the direct link between mother and child), affecting the developing brain.

“Our findings are [SSRIs] When mixed with things like infection and inflammation, it can have detrimental consequences,” said John Lukens, Ph.D., senior research fellow at the UVA Neuroscience Division and its Brain Immunity and Glial Center (BIG), and the UVA Brain Institute. “Our results may help explain the rise in autism prevalence over the past two decades, a period of widespread use of SSRIs in developing countries.” because it matches the

SSRIs during pregnancy

SSRIs are commonly used during pregnancy and are prescribed to 80% of pregnant women who need treatment for depression. Although the drug is widely considered a safe option for managing depression in pregnant women, it may increase the chance of premature birth and increase the risk of neurological and other health problems in children. There is some evidence that there is.

Lukens and his colleagues found that SSRIs interact with the mother’s immune system to trigger a strong inflammatory response at the maternal-fetal interface, the physical link between mother and offspring during pregnancy. I discovered that

The offspring of inflammation-exposed mothers later showed changes in gender-based behavior similar to those seen in people with autism, such as decreased communication and decreased interest in social interactions. Such mouse models are widely used as important autism research tools.

“We identified placental inflammatory signatures that correlated with neurological changes in adult offspring of mothers who encountered immune compromise during pregnancy,” says researcher Christine, lead author of a new scientific paper outlining the findings. Sengeller says. “These features may help identify biomarkers and druggable targets that can help mitigate the neurodevelopmental effects of prenatal environmental stressors, such as immune responses.”

Previous research has shown that infections, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions that alter the mother’s immune status during pregnancy can affect neurodevelopment. UVA researchers believe that SSRIs can interact with and amplify that inflammation, leading to lasting brain changes.

The results make sense, the researchers say, given how SSRIs alter serotonin in the body. Serotonin is an important mood regulator, often thought of as a “feel good” chemical in the brain, but it is also an important regulator of the body’s immune response. You receive serotonin only from your mother through the placenta, so disrupting your mother’s serotonin levels can affect your baby as well.

Researchers found that inflammation alone and in combination with SSRIs reversed changes in placental serotonin levels. “We found that mothers who encountered immune compromise during pregnancy showed a completely different signature in the placenta when on SSRIs compared to mothers who were not on SSRIs.” It emphasizes the importance of considering the entire pre-environment, as drugs designed to reduce inflammation can have unintended consequences in babies when combined with other modulators such as SSRIs. is.”

The researchers noted that SSRIs are an important tool for managing depression and emphasized that pregnant women should not stop using SSRIs without consulting their doctor. Instead, scientists are calling for additional studies, ultimately in humans, to determine how drugs affect mothers and babies and to better understand the interactions between SSRIs and inflammation. increase.

“Untreated maternal stress, depression, and anxiety can all disrupt the neurodevelopment of offspring and adversely affect behavioral and cognitive outcomes,” the researchers wrote. It is of utmost importance to consider both the relative benefits and potential outcomes of SSRIs as a treatment option for

Publication of survey results

The researchers published their findings in the scientific journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. The team consisted of Zengeler, Daniel A. Shapiro, Katherine R. Bruch, Katherine R. Lamato, Hannah Henerfelt, and Lukens. Researchers reported no financial gain from this work.

Lukens’ lab also recently discovered that it may hold the key to boosting the brain’s ability to fight Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

The latest research in the lab was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, grant R01NS106383. National Institute of Mental Health, Grant R21MH120412-01, Simmons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, Pilot Award 515305. and the Owens Family Foundation. In addition, research team members were supported by cell and molecular biology training grants 1T32GM139787-01-35 and T32GM008136, a Wagner Fellowship, a Double Hu Award, and a Harrison Fellowship.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog (https://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu).

/Release. This material from the original organization/author may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style, and length. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author is. View the full text here.



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