Chernobyl exposure as stressor during pregnancy and hormone levels in adolescent offspring
Huizink, A. C., Bartels, M., Rose, R. J., Pulkkinen, L., Eriksson, C. J. P., & Kaprio, J. (2008). Chernobyl exposure as stressor during pregnancy and hormone levels in adolescent offspring. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 62 (4), e5. doi:10.1136/jech.2007.060350
Published inJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
© 2008 BMJ Publishing Group
Background: Animal research suggests a programming effect of prenatal stress in the fetal period, resulting in disruptions in behavioural and neuromotor development. Physiological changes that mediate these effects include alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and in testosterone levels. This human study focuses on changes related to these physiological systems after prenatal stress exposure. Methods: We examined the potential effect of prenatal stress associated with the Chernobyl disaster in an ongoing genetic epidemiological study in Finland. One birth cohort of twins (n = 121 twin pairs) was exposed in utero to maternal stress, and their saliva cortisol and testosterone levels at age 14 were compared with twins (n = 157 twin pairs) born one year later. Results: Cortisol levels in both sexes and testosterone levels among females were significantly elevated after prenatal exposure to maternal stress from the second trimester onwards, compared to reference groups of non-exposed adolescents. Exposure explains 3% of variance (p<0.05) in cortisol levels and 18% of variance in testosterone levels (p<0.001). No significant differences were found for exposure from either first or third trimester onwards. Conclusion: Our results suggest that prenatal exposure to maternal stress in the second trimester of pregnancy may have resulted in prenatal programming of physiological systems relating to cortisol and testosterone levels. ...
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Huizink, A. C.; Dick, D. M.; E, Sihvola; Pulkkinen, Lea; Rose, R. J.; Kaprio, J. (2007)Objective: Research in animals has shown that exposure to stressors during pregnancy is associated with offspring behavioural disorders. We aimed to study the effect of in utero exposure to the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, ...
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