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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 May;93(5):1946-51. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-2535. Epub 2008 Feb 26.

Elevated midpregnancy corticotropin-releasing hormone is associated with prenatal, but not postpartum, maternal depression.

Author information

  • 1Connors Center for Women's Health amnd Gender Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 1620 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA. jr33@partners.org

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Elevated hypothalamic CRH has been implicated in melancholic major depression in nonpregnant individuals, but the role of placental CRH in maternal prenatal and postpartum depression is largely unexplored.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of the study was to examine the association of maternal midpregnancy plasma CRH levels with prenatal and postpartum depression.

PARTICIPANTS:

The study included 800 participants in Project Viva, a pregnancy and childhood cohort.

METHODS:

CRH levels were analyzed from blood samples obtained at mean 27.9 wk gestation (+/- 1.3 sd; range 24.6-37.4 wk) and were normalized on the logarithmic scale. Depression was assessed with the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (range 0-30 points) in midpregnancy and at 6 months postpartum. We used logistic regression to estimate the odds of scoring 13 or more points on the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale as indicative of major or minor depression.

RESULTS:

Seventy (8.8%) and 46 (7.5%) women had prenatal and postpartum depression symptoms, respectively. Mean log CRH was 4.93 (+/- 0.62 sd). After adjusting for confounders, an sd increase in log CRH was associated with nearly 50% higher odds of prenatal depression symptoms (odds ratio 1.48, 95% confidence interval 1.14-1.93). Higher CRH levels during pregnancy were unassociated with greater risk of postpartum depressive symptoms. In fact, there was a suggestion that prenatal CRH levels might be inversely associated with risk of postpartum depressive symptoms (odds ratio 0.82, 95% confidence interval 0.58-1.15).

CONCLUSIONS:

Elevated placental CRH levels in midpregnancy are positively associated with risk of prenatal depression symptoms but not postpartum depression symptoms.

PMID:
18303075
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2386278
Free PMC Article
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