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Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 15;83(2):109-119. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.05.027. Epub 2017 Jun 19.

Maternal Systemic Interleukin-6 During Pregnancy Is Associated With Newborn Amygdala Phenotypes and Subsequent Behavior at 2 Years of Age.

Author information

1
Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.
2
Development, Health and Disease Research Program, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California.
3
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Department of Medical Psychology, Berlin, Germany; Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
5
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California.
6
Development, Health and Disease Research Program, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California; Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Department of Medical Psychology, Berlin, Germany.
7
Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon; Advanced Imaging Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.
8
Development, Health and Disease Research Program, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California; Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Department of Medical Psychology, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: claudia.buss@charite.de.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Maternal inflammation during pregnancy increases the risk for offspring psychiatric disorders and other adverse long-term health outcomes. The influence of inflammation on the developing fetal brain is hypothesized as one potential mechanism but has not been examined in humans.

METHODS:

Participants were adult women (N = 86) who were recruited during early pregnancy and whose offspring were born after 34 weeks' gestation. A biological indicator of maternal inflammation (interleukin-6) that has been shown to influence fetal brain development in animal models was quantified serially in early, mid-, and late pregnancy. Structural and functional brain magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired in neonates shortly after birth. Infants' amygdalae were individually segmented for measures of volume and as seeds for resting state functional connectivity. At 24 months of age, children completed a snack delay task to assess impulse control.

RESULTS:

Higher average maternal interleukin-6 concentration during pregnancy was prospectively associated with larger right amygdala volume and stronger bilateral amygdala connectivity to brain regions involved in sensory processing and integration (fusiform, somatosensory cortex, and thalamus), salience detection (anterior insula), and learning and memory (caudate and parahippocampal gyrus). Larger newborn right amygdala volume and stronger left amygdala connectivity were in turn associated with lower impulse control at 24 months of age, and mediated the association between higher maternal interleukin-6 concentrations and lower impulse control.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings provide new evidence in humans linking maternal inflammation during pregnancy with newborn brain and emerging behavioral phenotypes relevant for psychiatric disorders. A better understanding of intrauterine conditions that influence offspring disease susceptibility is warranted to inform targeted early intervention and prevention efforts.

KEYWORDS:

Amygdala; Inflammation; Neonates; Neuroimaging; Pregnancy; Resting state functional connectivity MRI

PMID:
28754515
PMCID:
PMC5723539
[Available on 2019-01-15]
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.05.027
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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