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Possible link between autism and antidepressants during pregnancy – ScienceDaily


An international team led by Duke-NUS Medical School have discovered a potential link between autism like behavior in adult mice and impact the overall antidepressant in the womb. They also identified a treatment that has helped to improve memory loss and social interactions, according to a new study published in the journal molecular Brain.

Antidepressants are often prescribed to treat major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, including pregnant women. One of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants fluoxetine, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Fluoxetine can cross the placenta and is also found in breast milk. Little is known about its safety during pregnancy and not enough studies have been conducted on the long-term effects on the offspring.

"Many studies of human association have been conducted to examine the association between antidepressant exposure during pregnancy and children with autism and attention deficit disorder (ADHD). But they were unable to determine the cause-and-effect relationship," said Associate Professor Hyunsoo Sean Je, from Duke -NUS ¬ĽNeuroscience and behavioral disorders (NBD) program, senior and corresponding author of the study.

Command from Duke-NUS and their collaborators in Singapore and South Korea investigated adult mice born to mothers treated with fluoxetine (sold under the trademarks Prozac and SARAFEM) 15 days during the period of time that corresponds to the second trimester in humans, in comparison with those born to the mother of the data normal saline as a control. They found key differences in behavior. For example, the unexposed mice usually investigated all three branches of the Y-shaped maze within a ten-minute period of time, and during the course of a few hands of records, mice usually enter at least recently visited arm, while the fluoxetine-exposed were less susceptible to investigate non-attendance at hand.

In a second experiment, mice were injected two juvenile mice, one after another. If the second new mouse was introduced, the mice that were not exposed to fluoxetine is likely only to smell again introduced the mouse, recognizing that they have already met the first mouse. But fluoxetine-exposed group smelled like mice, suggesting that they were a violation of the social recognition of the novelty.

command is then examined nerve signal transmission in the prefrontal cortex of the brain involved in moderation social behavior. They found the broken transmission, caused by overactivity serotonin receptor. fluoxetine treatment, mice were exposed to a compound which blocks the receptor relief their behavioral problems and improve their working memory.

Command next wants to explore autistic children born to mothers treated with antidepressants using positron emission tomography (PET) scanning, imaging technique used to monitor the metabolic processes in the body. If they also show an increased serotonin receptor activity in the same brain region, the team plans to check with the & # 39 is FDA approved blockers of serotonin receptors may normalize their behavior.

"The consensus among experts is that the increase in the number of people diagnosed with autism around the world, probably due to the more experienced and testing, rather than an increase in the prevalence of autism," said Professor Patrick Casey, senior associate dean for Duke-NUS Research. "This is a joint study of our research offers convincing arguments in favor of the link between autism and antidepressant exposure in the womb in an animal model, and a possible mechanism that could potentially be used for future therapies."

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materials provided Duke-NUS Medical School. Note: The contents may be edited for style and length.

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