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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2001 Nov 26;131(1-2):47-56.

Fetal behavioural state changes following maternal fluoxetine infusion in sheep.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, BC Research Institute for Children's & Women's Health, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4, Canada.


Clinical depression is diagnosed in 5-15% of women during pregnancy, increasing the risk of negative outcomes. Fluoxetine (FX), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is prescribed during pregnancy. In adults, FX alters sleep patterns with single doses decreasing total sleep time and rapid eye movement sleep. The effects of FX on sleep in the fetus are unknown. However, 5-hydroxytryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, has been reported to prolong high-voltage (HV) electrocortical (ECoG) activity and increase the incidence of fetal breathing movements (FBM) in the sheep fetus. We hypothesize that FX exposure will decrease the incidence of LV ECoG in the fetus. Twenty-one pregnant sheep were surgically prepared for chronic study of blood gases, ECoG activity, eye movements and FBM. After 3 days of recovery, ewes received a 70-mg bolus i.v. infusion of FX or sterile water followed by continuous infusion at a rate of 0.036 mg/min for 8 days. The incidence of low-voltage (LV) ECoG decreased from 54+/-4% on the preinfusion day to 45+/-5% on infusion day 1 in the FX group and remained decreased throughout the infusion period. In addition, the incidence of both eye movements and FBM was decreased on infusion day 1 compared to preinfusion day in the FX group. HV ECoG increased from 39+/-3% on preinfusion day to 68+/-14% on FX infusion day 1 and remained elevated throughout the infusion period. These data show that maternal FX administration alters fetal behavioural state.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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