Author(s): Field T, Diego M, HernandezReif M, Vera Y, Gil K,
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Abstract Depressed (n = 45) and nondepressed (n = 47) mothers were recruited prenatally at an ultrasound clinic. Their urine samples were assayed for cortisol, catecholamines (norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine) and serotonin. Their urines were assayed again at the neonatal period, and their newborns' urines were also assayed at that time. The depressed versus the nondepressed mothers showed significantly higher cortisol and norepinephrine and significantly lower dopamine levels across the pre- and postnatal assessments. At the postnatal assessment all levels had decreased except the serotonin levels for both groups. Regression analyses on the mother's postnatal biochemistry with the prenatal biochemistry entered as predictor variables showed highly significant, specific relationships between each of the catecholamines, cortisol, and serotonin. The newborn's biochemistry (except for epinephrine) was higher than the maternal biochemistry. Regression analyses on the neonatal biochemistry with the mother's prenatal biochemistry entered as predictor variables also suggested highly significant, specific relationships. The continuity between the mother's and the newborn's neurotransmitter/ neurohormone profiles and data showing that elevated norepinephrine and cortisol predict to low birthweight and prematurity, respectively, highlight the importance of assessing these levels during pregnancy.
This article was published in Int J Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy