Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Baby girls born to mothers burdened by stress may be at risk for fibromyalgia

26.06.2006
Experiences while in the womb can have long-term consequences
Stressful or traumatic events experienced during pregnancy can have long-lasting effects on the fetus, yet these effects may not become apparent until many years later, according to a study suggesting that girls born of such pregnancies may be at greater risk for developing a painful muscle condition called fibromyalgia as adults.

The study, presented at the 6th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN 2006), shows how vulnerable a fetus is to "prenatal programming." Indeed, animal studies presented at ICN 2006 indicate that a synthetic hormone commonly given to pregnant women at risk for delivering early can permanently affect the newborn's neuroendocrine system and may have even more profound effects on those born in the next generation. ICN 2006 is being held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh June 19 – 22.

Summaries of these studies' findings follow:

Stress during pregnancy may put baby girls at later risk for fibromyalgia

New research suggests girls who were born following pregnancies that were encumbered by stressful life events may be at greater risk for developing fibromyalgia later in life. While little is known about the causes of fibromyalgia, a condition affecting mostly women and characterized by extreme fatigue and widespread muscle pain, the studies led by Dirk Hellhammer, Ph.D., professor of psychobiology at the University of Trier, Germany, indicate "prenatal programming" likely plays a role. Stress experienced during pregnancy can affect the development of the fetus's adrenal gland, permanently limiting its capacity for producing adequate amounts of the hormone cortisol, he reports.

Compared to 100 healthy female control subjects, significantly more patients among the 93 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia reported their mothers had experienced profound stress during pregnancy, such as the loss of a partner, physical or emotional trauma or lack of social support. Moreover, of these patients born of such pregnancies, only the women had "blunted" cortisol response in a standardized measure of psychological stress, an observation that supported findings in animal studies. Furthermore, low cortisol levels were only observed in patients with a history of prenatal stress. While more study is needed, results collected so far provide strong evidence that girls may be at added risk for developing fibromyalgia if, while in the womb, they were exposed to higher than normal levels of cortisol produced by their mothers in response to stress.

Effects of steroid drug during pregnancy can span generations

A synthetic hormone commonly given to pregnant women at risk for delivering early not only can result in permanent changes to the newborn's neuroendocrine system, but may have even greater effects on those born in the next generation, indicate results from animal studies.

Approximately 7 percent of pregnant women are treated with synthetic glucocorticoid to help hasten lung development when pre-term birth seems likely. Both animal and human clinical studies have shown the treatment could have long-term effects on neuroendocrine function and behavior. Using a guinea pig model, Stephen G. Matthews, Ph.D., professor, physiology, obstetrics & gynecology and medicine, University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, has shown that late-pregnancy exposure affects neurotransmitter systems – the brain's primary communications vehicle – and makes fundamental changes to stress response mechanisms. Moreover, exposure in the womb to these synthetic hormones, which also have potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties, can have life-long consequences. According to Dr. Matthews' research, exposure affects the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), which controls how the body responds to stress and is involved in regulation of energy balance and the immune system as well. Now, in more recent studies, his group is finding such effects extend to second generation offspring, in whom changes to HPA function and behavior are even greater than in those directly exposed. For instance, animals whose grandmothers were treated with glucocorticoids exhibit reduced levels of stress hormones and modified activity.

Lisa Rossi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upmc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>