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Oxytocin pathways in the intergenerational transmission of maternal early life stress.

Authors
  • Toepfer, Philipp1
  • Heim, Christine2
  • Entringer, Sonja3
  • Binder, Elisabeth4
  • Wadhwa, Pathik5
  • Buss, Claudia6
  • 1 Institute of Medical Psychology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Luisenstraße 57, 10117, Berlin, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 2 Institute of Medical Psychology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Luisenstraße 57, 10117, Berlin, Germany; Department of Biobehavioral Health, Penn State University, 219 Biobehavioral Health Building University Park, PA, 16802, USA. , (Germany)
  • 3 Institute of Medical Psychology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Luisenstraße 57, 10117, Berlin, Germany; UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program, 333 The City Blvd. W, Suite 810, Orange, CA, 92868, USA. , (Germany)
  • 4 Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Kraepelinstr. 2-10, 80804, Munich, Germany; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, School of Medicine Atlanta, GA, 30307, USA. , (Germany)
  • 5 UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program, 333 The City Blvd. W, Suite 810, Orange, CA, 92868, USA.
  • 6 Institute of Medical Psychology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Luisenstraße 57, 10117, Berlin, Germany; UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program, 333 The City Blvd. W, Suite 810, Orange, CA, 92868, USA. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Publication Date
February 2017
Volume
73
Pages
293–308
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.12.026
PMID: 28027955
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Severe stress in early life, such as childhood abuse and neglect, constitutes a major risk factor in the etiology of psychiatric disorders and somatic diseases. Importantly, these long-term effects may impact the next generation. The intergenerational transmission of maternal early life stress (ELS) may occur via pre-and postnatal pathways, such as alterations in maternal-fetal-placental stress physiology, maternal depression during pregnancy and postpartum, as well as impaired mother-offspring interactions. The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has gained considerable attention for its role in modulating all of these assumed transmission pathways. Moreover, central and peripheral OT signaling pathways are highly sensitive to environmental exposures and may be compromised by ELS with implications for these putative transmission mechanisms. Together, these data suggest that OT pathways play an important role in the intergenerational transmission of maternal ELS in humans. By integrating recent studies on gene-environment interactions and epigenetic modifications in OT pathway genes, the present review aims to develop a conceptual framework of intergenerational transmission of maternal ELS that emphasizes the role of OT.

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