Early Biomarkers and Intervention Programs for the Infant Exposed to Prenatal Stress

Marta C. Antonelli, Martin G. Frasch, Mercedes Rumi, Ritika Sharma, Peter Zimmer-Mann, Maria S. Molinet, Silvia M. Lobmaier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Functional development of affective and reward circuits, cognition and response inhibition later in life exhibits vulnerability periods during gestation and early childhood. Extensive evidence supports the model that exposure to stressors in the gestational period and early postnatal life increases an individual's susceptibility to future impairments of functional development. Recent versions of this model integrate epigenetic mechanisms of the developmental response. Their understanding will guide the future treatment of the associated neuropsychiatric disorders. A combina-tion of non-invasively obtainable physiological signals and epigenetic biomarkers related to the principal systems of the stress response, the Hypothalamic-Pituitary axis (HPA) and the Autonom-ic Nervous System (ANS), are emerging as the key predictors of neurodevelopmental outcomes. Such electrophysiological and epigenetic biomarkers can prove to timely identify children benefit-ing most from early intervention programs. Such programs should ameliorate future disorders in otherwise healthy children. The recently developed Early Family-Centered Intervention Programs aim to influence the care and stimuli provided daily by the family and improving parent/child at-tachment, a key element for healthy socio-emotional adult life. Although frequently underestimat-ed, such biomarker-guided early intervention strategy represents a crucial first step in the prevention of future neuropsychiatric problems and in reducing their personal and societal impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-106
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Neuropharmacology
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Early intervention programs
  • Epigenetic biomarkers
  • FHR
  • Maternal stress
  • Neurodevelopment
  • PRSA

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