S64-2 Fetal Programming of Brain Development: Role of Intrauterine Stress and Stress Biology in Susceptibility to Psychopathology

Program: Symposia
Session: S64-Prenatal Exposure to Glucocorticoids and Neonatal Outcome
Monday, June 17, 2013: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Presentation Start Time: 4:30 PM
Room 104 (Moscone Center)
Claudia Buss*
Charité, Berlin, Germany
Talk Description:

Stress-related variation in the intrauterine milieu may impact brain development and emergent function, with long-term implications in terms of susceptibility for neuropsychiatric disorders. Studies in animals suggest the developing brain is particularly sensitive to exposure to the stress hormone cortisol with implications for structural and functional neural integrity. However, the nature, magnitude and time course of these effects have not yet been adequately characterized in humans. Data from two prospective longitudinal studies in pregnant women and their children conducted at the University of California, Irvine will be presented supporting an association between maternal stress and altered stress biology, measured repeatedly over the course of gestation, with infant and child brain development, assessed with magnetic resonance imaging, neurocognitive tests and reports of child behavioural problems. The results underscore the importance of the intrauterine environment and suggest the origins of neuropsychiatric disorders may have their foundations early in life.