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Horm Behav. 2012 Aug;62(3):237-42. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.03.007. Epub 2012 Mar 23.

Prenatal programing: at the intersection of maternal stress and immune activation.

Author information

1
Department of Animal Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract

Exposure to prenatal insults such as maternal stress and pathogenic infections has been associated with an increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. The mechanisms by which these programing events occur likely involve complex interactions between the maternal hormonal milieu, the placenta, and the developing fetus, in addition to compounding factors such as fetal sex and gestational stage of development. Despite the diverse biological processes involved, examination of common pathways in maternal stress and immune activation offers intriguing possibilities for elucidation of mechanistic insight. Further, the endocrine and sex-specific placenta is a tissue poised to be a key mediator in fetal programing, located at the intersection of the maternal and embryonic environments. In this review, we will discuss the potential shared mechanisms of maternal stress and immune pathway activation, with a particular focus on the important contribution and role of the placenta.

PMID:
22465455
PMCID:
PMC3568743
DOI:
10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.03.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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