IMR Press / FBE / Volume 2 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.2741/E63

Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Maternal stress-induced reduction in birth weight as a marker for adult affective state
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1 Department of Neuroscience, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), Maastricht University, European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Universiteitssingel 50, P.O. box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2 Department of Pediatrics, Research Institute Growth and Development (GROW), Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, P. Debyelaan 25, P.O. box 5800, 6202 AZ, Maastricht, The Netherlands

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2010, 2(1), 43–46;
Published: 1 January 2010

It is known that adverse events experienced by a pregnant woman may be reflected upon the developing fetus and adversely affect its mental wellbeing in later life. In a recent study by our group, prenatal stress was associated with a clear increase in anxiety- and depression-related behavior in male, but not female Sprague-Dawley offspring. Since birth weight data were recorded we were able to determine whether birth weight, as an important outcome measure of fetal distress, may be used as a predictive indicator for adult performance. For this purpose, a correlation analysis was performed, aimed at studying the possible link between stress-induced fetal growth restriction and adult affective state. Male birth weight correlated positively to depression-related behavior in the forced swim test. Furthermore, it weight was correlated negatively to basal, and positively to stress-induced, plasma corticosterone levels in adulthood. Female birth weight did not correlate to any of the studied outcome measures. These data suggest that male birth weight may represent a valuable indicative marker for variations in adult affective state with a developmental origin.

Prenatal Stress
Birth Weight
Fetal Growth Restriction
Barker Hypothesis
Developmental Origins Of Health And Disease
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