Disruption of fetal hormonal programming (prenatal stress) implicates shared risk for sex differences in depression and cardiovascular disease

J. M. Goldstein, R. J. Handa, S. A. Tobet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Comorbidity of major depressive disorder (MDD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) represents the fourth leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and women have a two times greater risk than men. Thus understanding the pathophysiology has widespread implications for attenuation and prevention of disease burden. We suggest that sex-dependent MDD-CVD comorbidity may result from alterations in fetal programming consequent to the prenatal maternal environments that produce excess glucocorticoids, which then drive sex-dependent developmental alterations of the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis circuitry impacting mood, stress regulation, autonomic nervous system (ANS), and the vasculature in adulthood. Evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that disruptions of pathways associated with gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in neuronal and vascular development and growth factors have critical roles in key developmental periods and adult responses to injury in heart and brain. Understanding the potential fetal origins of these sex differences will contribute to development of novel sex-dependent therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-158
Number of pages19
JournalFrontiers in Neuroendocrinology
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Fetal hormonal programming
  • Hypothalamus
  • MDD-CVD comorbidity
  • Prenatal stress
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Disruption of fetal hormonal programming (prenatal stress) implicates shared risk for sex differences in depression and cardiovascular disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this