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The impact of maternal exposure to childhood adverse events on neonatal cortisol levels

Grant number: 22/04518-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2022
Effective date (End): April 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Psychiatry
Cooperation agreement: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Principal researcher:Andrea Parolin Jackowski
Grantee:Lucas Pinto Ribeiro
Home Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/21612-0 - Maternal adversity, inflammation, and neurodevelopment: how intergenerational processes perpetuate disadvantage in a low-resource setting, AP.TEM

Abstract

Exposure to adverse childhood events (emotional and physical abuse by parents, multiple episodes of violence and sexual abuse) is associated with deleterious effects on the development of children and adolescents, low functioning, cognitive deficits and predict the development of depressive and anxiety disorders. throughout life. There is growing evidence that exposure to early stressors may confer risk for psychopathology through epigenetic mechanisms. There is emerging evidence suggesting that the neurobiological effects of stress vary at different stages of development. Stress during pregnancy, or prenatal stress, is associated with multiple of these negative outcomes in babies' lives, and in the form of exposure to chronic or acute stressors, such as violence, depression and/or anxiety, can influence the outcome. fetal development in different ways. Epigenetic regulation of the placental genome can influence placental function and signaling, with long-term impacts on fetal health. In a recent study, a group of researchers demonstrated the presence of several proteins, isoforms of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), in the placenta. The sex of the fetus appears to have an important effect on the relationship between cortisol levels and fetal neurodevelopment. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in extreme and stressful situations, and is directly involved in the response to fight and flight situations, hence known as the "stress hormone". In high doses in the body, cortisol has a harmful action, leading to a chronic concentration of high levels of this hormone in the blood, and triggering constant stress levels, increased irritability and changes related to the deterioration of metabolism. However, the influence of early stress, cortisol levels and the baby's sex, during the period of fetal development and in the first year of life have not yet been fully elucidated. The main objective of this project is to assess whether there is an association between traumatic maternal events in childhood, cortisol levels (maternal and neonate) and the sex of the neonate. (AU)

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