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Maternal Childhood Trauma and Placental-Fetal Stress Physiology

MeSci

ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?
Messages
8,231
Location
Cornwall, UK
Article in Press
Maternal Exposure to Childhood Trauma Is Associated During Pregnancy with Placental-Fetal Stress Physiology
Nora K. Moog, Claudia Buss, Sonja Entringer, Babak Shahbaba, Daniel L. Gillen, Calvin J. Hobel, Pathik D. Wadhwa

Publication History
Published Online: September 03, 2015 Accepted: August 15, 2015 Received in revised form: July 24, 2015 Received: February 13, 2015

Abstract

Background


The effects of exposure to childhood trauma (CT) may be transmitted across generations; however, the time period(s) and mechanism(s) have yet to be clarified. We address the hypothesis that intergenerational transmission may begin during intrauterine life via the effect of maternal CT exposure on placental-fetal stress physiology, specifically placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (pCRH).

Methods

The study was conducted in a sociodemographically diverse cohort of 295 pregnant women. CT exposure was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Placental CRH concentrations were quantified in maternal blood collected serially over the course of gestation. Linear mixed effects and Bayesian piece-wise linear models were employed to test hypothesized relationships.

Results

Maternal CT exposure (CT+) was significantly associated with pCRH production. Compared with nonexposed women, CT+ was associated with an almost 25% increase in pCRH toward the end of gestation, and the pCRH trajectory of CT+ women exhibited an approximately twofold steeper increase after the pCRH inflection point at 19 weeks gestation.

Conclusions

To the best of our knowledge, this finding represents the first report linking maternal CT exposure with placental-fetal stress physiology, thus identifying a potential novel biological pathway of intergenerational transmission that may operate as early as during intrauterine life
 

SOC

Senior Member
Messages
7,849
Oh, puh-leez. :rolleyes:

I'm not going to bother to dig into this, so I can't say how sound their questionnaire or statistics are. Even assuming both are high quality (which I doubt), correlation is not causation. Don't they teach this basic scientific principle in medical psychology school? IF there is a real correlation between maternal childhood trauma and pCRH, that does not lead to the conclusion that trauma-related stress is transmitted intergenerationally many years after the maternal trauma.

Do any of our intelligent psych-trained members know what constitutes childhood trauma according to this questionnaire? Is it physical abuse, experience of war, death of parent, or are more common childhood experiences like being bullied, illness, or injury also included?
 

MeSci

ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?
Messages
8,231
Location
Cornwall, UK
Oh, puh-leez. :rolleyes:

I'm not going to bother to dig into this, so I can't say how sound their questionnaire or statistics are. Even assuming both are high quality (which I doubt), correlation is not causation. Don't they teach this basic scientific principle in medical psychology school? IF there is a real correlation between maternal childhood trauma and pCRH, that does not lead to the conclusion that trauma-related stress is transmitted intergenerationally many years after the maternal trauma.

Do any of our intelligent psych-trained members know what constitutes childhood trauma according to this questionnaire? Is it physical abuse, experience of war, death of parent, or are more common childhood experiences like being bullied, illness, or injury also included?
Hopefully some people will be able to access the full text and provide some good analysis, including stats.
 
All I can think of seeing this is the idea in this paper: http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=1211984 combined with known epigenetic transmission issues caused by stress (all I can remember for that one is the two studies regarding stress during male sperm production and pregnancy) http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/121# ; http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v17/n5/full/nn.3695.html#access
My knowledge is not great, and I must confess that I haven't fully read these papers, and even if I were too, I would not be informed enough to judge them safely. My science education ends at A-Level, with not great results due to repeat absence with illness. I am still interested, but, that doesn't help much.

Either way, if I am right and they are asserting an Epi-genetic cause at least it's better than pure 'in your head' lines.
 

MeSci

ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?
Messages
8,231
Location
Cornwall, UK
All I can think of seeing this is the idea in this paper: http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=1211984 combined with known epigenetic transmission issues caused by stress (all I can remember for that one is the two studies regarding stress during male sperm production and pregnancy) http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/121# ; http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v17/n5/full/nn.3695.html#access
My knowledge is not great, and I must confess that I haven't fully read these papers, and even if I were too, I would not be informed enough to judge them safely. My science education ends at A-Level, with not great results due to repeat absence with illness. I am still interested, but, that doesn't help much.

Either way, if I am right and they are asserting an Epi-genetic cause at least it's better than pure 'in your head' lines.
A common criticism here is that reporting of childhood trauma tends to be subjective and subject to confounding. I have an open mind about it, and there are IMO plausible mechanisms for how such things could occur.

Another criticism is that some people say that they did not have traumatic childhoods but still have ME. But I don't think that it is being claimed that everyone has the same cause for their illness - just that there may be a significant subgroup in which this is a factor.
 
A common criticism here is that reporting of childhood trauma tends to be subjective and subject to confounding. I have an open mind about it, and there are IMO plausible mechanisms for how such things could occur.

Another criticism is that some people say that they did not have traumatic childhoods but still have ME. But I don't think that it is being claimed that everyone has the same cause for their illness - just that there may be a significant subgroup in which this is a factor.

Oh I agree that there could be mechanisms, at least as far as my own limited knowledge extends. I was not very clear, I was trying simply to say that all that was put in my mind by the first post was the idea of an epigenetic mechanism.

I was thinking when I made that post that the copied genes (at thus RNA attachments) at the time of gamete production of one/other or both parent(s), could be influenced by stress, and that the study might be asserting the idea that when the eggs or sperm are 'created' (assuming that the replenishment happened after the traumatic event) that the stress state might thus be heritable, causing mal-expression of certain characters.

Not sure how relevant what I am talking about there is... but its fun to think about?
 

SOC

Senior Member
Messages
7,849
when the eggs or sperm are 'created' (assuming that the replenishment happened after the traumatic event)
Isn't it true that human eggs are not replenished or created in adulthood? Aren't human females born with all the eggs they're going to have? Sperm are replenished, but not eggs, iirc. So much for maternal stress affecting eggs created after the trauma. Paternal stress might affect sperm, by that logic, but it shouldn't work similarly for the female side of things.

Or is that outdated information? It's been a while since I was in Biology class. :p
 
Isn't it true that human eggs are not replenished or created in adulthood? Aren't human females born with all the eggs they're going to have? Sperm are replenished, but not eggs, iirc. So much for maternal stress affecting eggs created after the trauma. Paternal stress might affect sperm, by that logic, but it shouldn't work similarly for the female side of things.

Or is that outdated information? It's been a while since I was in Biology class. :p

I don't know if it panned out, and my information may be out of date by now, but I think that in 2004/2005 sort of time it was announced that ovaries replenished eggs in most mammals to account for loss, damage, destruction, and natural degradation, making use of stem cells found in the ovary proper. There was some more on it more recently, (2010-2014). I will link articles later on or tomorrow if I can find them, but I can't remember where they were, sorry.

I do remember though that the original study regarding number of eggs was 1950s and full of errors, but became dogma none the less.
 

SOC

Senior Member
Messages
7,849
I don't know if it panned out, and my information may be out of date by now, but I think that in 2004/2005 sort of time it was announced that ovaries replenished eggs in most mammals to account for loss, damage, destruction, and natural degradation, making use of stem cells found in the ovary proper.
Wasn't that a single study on mice, so hardly conclusive evidence about mice, much less mammals in general? However, if there are more recent studies I haven't seen (very likely :)), the 2004 research may have been replicated and extended to human studies. Let me know if you find the research. I'd be interested in seeing what more current thinking is.