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Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Aug;32:21-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

Prenatal maternal anxiety predicts reduced adaptive immunity in infants.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. Tom_OConnor@URMC.Rochester.edu

Abstract

Prenatal anxiety has been linked with altered immune function in offspring in animal studies, but the relevance for human health is unknown. We examined prenatal maternal anxiety as a predictor of adaptive immunity in infants at 2 and 6 months of age as part of a prospective longitudinal study. The humoral immune response to hepatitis B vaccine was assessed at 2 months (n=80) and 6 months (n=76) of age. Prenatal anxiety predicted lower hepatitis B antibody titers at 6 months of age independent of obstetric and socio-demographic covariates; the effects were limited to those infants who had not completed the 3-dose vaccine series (for transformed titer values, r=-.36, p<.05). Cell-mediated immune responses at 2 (n=56) and 6 (n=54) months of age were examined by ELISpot assays for interferon(IFN)-γ, interleukin(IL)-2, and IL-4 responder cell frequencies to three antigens: hepatitis B surface antigen, tetanus toxoid, and phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). Prenatal maternal anxiety was associated with reduced IFN-γ and increased IL-4 responder cell frequencies at 6 months of age, independent of obstetric and socio-demographic covariates. No effect of prenatal anxiety was found on adaptive immunity at 2 months of age. The findings provide the first demonstration in humans that prenatal anxiety alters adaptive immunity in the infant.

PMID:
23439080
PMCID:
PMC3686987
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbi.2013.02.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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