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Updated on: Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 08:39 PM IST

Depression during pregnancy affects child's immunity

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Washington: A woman's mental health during the stage of pregnancy will have a direct influence on the development of the growing child's immune system, a new study has found.

The researchers examined health records of 1,043 mother-infant pairs who are participating in the CHILD Cohort Study, which is following the health of thousands of Canadian children into their teens. For the research, the mothers filled out regular questionnaires about their mood during and after their pregnancies.

"Our study shows that what happens to the mother during pregnancy could affect the levels and function of the cells that produce immunoglobulin in children," said Anita Kozyrskyj, a pediatric epidemiologist and a leading researcher on gut microbes.

Stool samples from the babies were examined for the presence of intestinal secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), an antibody that plays a crucial role in immunity.

"This immunoglobulin is really important in the microbiome for developing oral tolerance to environmental antigens," said lead author Liane Kang.

Mothers who reported symptoms of depression during their third trimester, or persistently before and after the birth, were twice as likely to have babies with the lowest levels of immunoglobulin A in their gut. The mothers' symptoms did not have to be severe enough for a clinical diagnosis of depression. No link was found with postpartum depression. The results held true even when variable factors such as breastfeeding and antibiotic use by the mothers and babies were taken into account. -- ANI

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Published on: Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 08:39 PM IST
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